“You’re a damned liar!” Just as Louis de Montesanto is about to start his lecture in front of the venerable Royal Geographical Society, a heckler exposes him as a charlatan. The small man with the massive head was born in a small Swiss mountain village in 1849 under the name of Hans Roth, and he went on to lead a truly adventurous life, which included, among other things, working for the governor of Western Australia. He returns to London many years later, clothed in rags and telling a story that is odder than anything a person could make up. He claims that he was appointed chief of an aboriginal tribe, and that he spent years studying their culture and traditions. His quickly published autobiography becomes a worldwide bestseller - until the word gets out about how much he has embellished his daring life story.
Michael Hugentobler crafts a fictional life story around a man who actually did exist. There never was a Louis de Montesanto, but there was once a Louis de Rougemont, the alias for Henri Louis Grin, upon whose fascinating story this novel is loosely based. The Wild Word Magazine, in which de Rougemont published his accounts until he was uncovered as a humbug, once wrote: “Truth is stranger than fiction, but de Rougemont is stranger than both.”
A picaresque novel about the striving for fulfillment and freedom, and about the fact that truth is often a question of perception, especially for a very small person like Louis, who is constantly struggling to remain independent from the large, wide world.
"So tell me now how it really was! - Which version, Sir?"
Trained as a journalist, Michael Hugentobler is a great historical writer. Following the historical traces, he faithfully devises the truth anew. His titles are reading adventures, cushioned by an elegant sense of humor. Anyone who loves Bruce Chatwin will devour Michael Hugentobler.