Blaise Hofmann was born in 1978, in Morges. He studied French, History and psychology at the university of Lausanne. He has worked as a nurse’s aide, a teacher, a youth leader, a herdsman and a journalist but this young Swiss writer is above all a travelling man. At the age of only 17, he went to Benin one summer to help build a health center. In 2001, he left, by himself, walking east, without an itinerary or much money. He returned home a year later ; he had been through Russia, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, Iran, the Sudan and Ethiopia. The result of this long trek was the publication of two outstanding works namely Quarantaine chez les Russes, a collection of poems unfortunately now out of print, and Billet allez simple, his first travel narrative.
A well-know – at that point- writer, in 2006 he received an invitation to Ledig House in New York as writer in residence for the summer. He took the opportunity to finish Estive, his second narrative. This notebook of restless wanderings in the Alpine valleys he himself characterises as a “selective and pre-recorded book” - it was indeed written from on-the-spot notes – and received last year’s Nicolas Bouvier award. The novel Estive, inspired by his uncommon adventures as a herdsman, is the diary of a human experience of solitude ; it is punctuated with poetic and erudite reflections. In 2008, after another trip round the Mediterranean Sea, he returned with a new novel, L’Assoifée.
- L’Assoiffée (Zoé, 2009)
- Estive (Zoé, 2007) 2008 Nicolas Bouvier Award
- Billet allez simple (Editions de l’Aire, 2006)
Synopsis of L’Assoiffée :
This could be the synopsis of a road movie : it is the way chosen one morning by the narrator, a woman who decides to take a break from her life, to head off without a goal nor means.
From then on, a long asphalt ribbon unfurls before her, the countryside and the towns unfold like a whole world of pictures ; her encounters with people are brief, sometimes difficult but sometimes pleasant. Her arrival in Paris turns into a longer stay – a whole season - when the narrator meets a multitude of people, beggars, or else friendly, indifferent, or simply unhappy people ; in that world, she comes to experience both recklessness and compassion. Then she casts off from the city to head towards the ocean, where all wills are dissolved.
The author uses a biting often verbal style of writing, to make his heroine live her own life like an electron escaping from its orbit to reach for freedom.