I was born twice, once in Lyon in 1960 and once in the Sahara in 1989.
One night can change a whole life.
In 1989 when he was twenty-eight, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt went trekking in the Sahara. He left, an atheist; ten days later, he returned, a believer.
In the unfamiliar territory of southern Algeria, he got to know the Tuareg people and discovered a life reduced to simplicity. Then, one day, he got lost for 30 hours in the vast wastes of the Ahaggar Desert. With nothing to eat or drink and no knowledge of where he was or whether anyone would find him, alone under the African sky where the stars appeared so close, he expected to be beside himself with fear; in fact, he found himself filled with a powerful force that comforted, enlightened and advised him.
That “night of fire”, as Pascal called his dramatic encounter with God, changed Schmitt forever. What happened? What did he hear? How do you deal with such an abrupt and unexpected experience when you are a philosopher trained in the agnostic tradition?
In this book, in which a vast inner journey runs parallel to the plot, Eric-Emmanuel reveals his private spiritual and emotional life for the first time and describes how that miraculous moment affected, not just his career as a writer, but his trajectory as a man.