by MacDonald Harris.
Editions of The Balloonist
- The Balloonist. New York, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1976.
- The Balloonist. London, Victor Gollancz
- The Balloonist. New York, Avon Books,1977.
- The Balloonist. York York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux/QPB
Club, 1977. Special printing for Quality Paper Book Club, July, 1977.
- The Balloonist. London, Penguin Books, 1978.
- Ballongfararen. Translated by Astrid and Caj Lundgren.
Stockholm, Wahlstrom & Widstrand, 1977. Selection,
Swedish Book-of-the-Month Club, July, 1977.
- Der Ballonfahrer. Translated by Christel Wiemken. Hamburg,
Rowohlt Verlag, 1977.
- Ballong-Ferden. Translated by Kjell Risvik. Oslo, J. W. Cappelens
Forlag A.S., 1977.
- El Aeronauta. Translated by Anibal Leal. Buenos Aires,
Emece Editores S.A. 1977.
- Koi no Hokkyoku - Fusen Ryoko. Translated by Taro Kitamura. Tokyo, Sheisha
- The Balloonist. London, Galileo Publishers, 2011.
- The Balloonist. New York, Overlook Press, 2012.
From the Jacket:
It is July 1897, at the northernmost reach of the inhabited world.
A Swedish scientist, and American Journalist, and a young, French-speaking
adventurer climb into the wicker gondola suspended beneath
a huge red-and-white balloon. The ropes are cut, the balloon rises,
and the three begin their voyage--an attempt to become the first people to set foot
on the North Pole, to arrive there, and return, borne on the wind.
Gustave Crispin, the Swede, is the leader of the expedition and
the narrator of MacDonald Harris's witty, richly sensual and ingenious novel.
As the balloon drifts northward, his thoughts drift
south to his exasperating romance with the striking Luisa,
a Parisienne of exotic background and a decidedly venturesome spirit,
with whom he fell madly in love in the only way nineteenth-century amateur
scientists seem to have done: madly and to his great annoyance.
While he works painstakingly on the inventions
that will make his polar adventure possible, he and Luisa embark on a
storm, tender, and hilarious affair, involving, among other
incidents, a delightfully comic balloon trip across the Gulf of
Bothnia; a series of maddening seances in the home of
Luisa's eccentric family; a brief, wonderfully erotic idyll in the
Italian Lakes, and a shocking foray into the decadent counterculture of
With great elegance, Harris plaits together the strands of his story--the hazardous
exploration of the Arctic and the equally hazardous journey
through the warmer regions of the heart--to create a novel that is both
a captivating, unsentimental love story and an exciting adventure in the
tradition of Jules Verne.
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