"Full of zest and high spirits." -- The Christian Science Monitor This witty, elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Mediterranean island of Nepenthe, where Thomas Heard, Bishop of Bampopo in the equatorial regions of Africa, stops off on his way back to England. His arrival and introduction to the local society sets the stage for an urbane and polished tale. South Wind brilliantly evokes the dreamy, languorous quality of life on Nepenthe, a town of whitewashed houses perched on sheer rock cliffs above a gleaming sea. While peasants clamber up roads of black volcanic lava to work in the vineyards, aristocrats while away the torpid midday hours on sun-dappled terraces, discoursing of life and love. The memorable cast of characters includes a host of expatriates, freethinkers, eccentrics, politicians, zealots, and all manner of ne'er-do-wells who mingle in the picturesque settlement's taverns, villas, and streets. By the time Bishop Heard is ready to leave Nepenthe, there has been a murder, a fearsome volcanic eruption, an art forgery, and other nefarious doings -- all recounted in eloquent descriptions, replete with provocative ideas, glittering epigrams, and mordant satire.
British author Norman Douglas (1868-1952) traveled widely, and the books inspired by his rambles in Tunisia, Austria, and Italy are noted for their erudition and insights. A longtime resident of Capri, he used the island as the model for the fictional setting of his best-known work, South Wind.