“I, Hasan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I, Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised at the hand of a barber and baptized at the hand of a pope, I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. I am also called the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, but I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road, my country is the caravan, my life the most unexpected of voyages.”
A fantastic historical fiction with endless adventures, travel and plenty of history. The biography of Hassan Al Wazzan set in the late 1400’s with travel through Granada, Fez, Cairo and Rome.
Amin Maalouf does a wonderful job with characterization – each character is described in such detail from background, beliefs, cultures and ideas, captured impeccably. You visualize cities and attractions as if you were right there in the location described. Every sight, sound, image enhanced by wonderful prose rich in particulars, every description inhaled and absorbed full of texture.
Leo Africanus is a treasure, I never tire of reading this showpiece repeatedly and doubt I ever will. One of my all time favorite pieces of literature.