Even on holiday, sex and death are Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s constant companions...
In Self-Portrait Abroad
, our narrator—a Belgian author much like Toussaint himself—travels the globe, finding the mundane blended everywhere with the exotic: With his usual poker face, he keeps up on Corsican gossip in Tokyo and has a battle of nerves in a butcher shop in Berlin; he wins a boules tournament in Cap Corse, takes in a strip club in Japan’s historic Nara, gets pulled through Hanoi on a cycle rickshaw, and has a chance encounter on the road from Tunis to Sfax. Tales of a cosmopolitan at home in a strangely familiar world, Self-Portrait Abroad
casts the entire globe in a cool but playful light, reminding us that, wherever we go,we take our own eyes with us... .