Free Shipping on Orders of $40 or More
The Weight of Sand: My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara

The Weight of Sand: My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara

by Edith Blais
The Weight of Sand: My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara

The Weight of Sand: My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara

by Edith Blais


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, August 10


A radiant, unforgettable memoir of one woman’s 450 days spent in captivity, and her defiant refusal to have her humanity stripped away.

When Edith meets Luca in a small Northern town, the two connect instantly. Under the Northern Lights, they develop a deep friendship over their shared passions: travel, living off the land, a bohemian life. In search of wanderlust, they embark on an epic road trip from Italy to Togo, where they will join their friend’s sustainable farming project. Upon arriving on the African continent, they change their itinerary and drive through Africa’s Sahel region, a haven for militant groups, where they are surrounded and captured. Little was known about Edith’s and Luca’s fate until they reappeared in Mali more than one year later, having mysteriously escaped their captors.

Now, Edith shares her harrowing story with the world for the first time—complete with the poems that became a lifeline for her in captivity, which she wrote in secret with a pen borrowed from another hostage.

Against the stunning but cruel backdrop of the desert, Edith recounts her months as a hostage: the oppressive heat, violent sandstorms, constant relocations, hunger strikes, and her eventual heart-pounding escape. Separated from Luca early on, she finds solidarity and comfort with a group of other female hostages, who lend her a pen to write poetry, a creative outlet that helps save her life. Edith is steadfast in her will to remain sane: she reveals her dedication to her art, and her striking ability to unsettle her captors and identify their vulnerabilities.

A compelling descent into a strange, brutal universe, The Weight of Sand is ultimately a life-affirming book and a poetic celebration of one woman’s resilience.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771649094
Publisher: Greystone Books
Publication date: 09/21/2021
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 1,061,689
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Edith Blais is a chef and self-taught writer and artist who chooses to lead a simple life. In 2019, she and her traveling companion, Luca Tacchetto, were taken hostage by an Islamic militant group in the Sahel region of Africa. Her writings during her fifteen months of captivity became the basis for her first book. Edith escaped her captors in March 2020 and currently lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Table of Contents

I Am Myself 1

Part I Europe-Togo

1 Crossroads 5

Little Nomad 11

2 Itinerary 12

The Dancer 15

3 Chaos 16

A World Condemned 19

4 The Frenchman 20

5 The Village 22

6 Mistake 26

Part II The Mujahideen

Shivers 31

7 Ambush 32

Death 35

8 Among the Fula People 36

9 The Third Day 40

10 The Trade 44

Part III Into the Desert

One Day More 49

11 The Man in Blue 50

In the Maze 54

12 The Leader 55

Sands of Time 57

Part IV The Desert Arabs

Nightmare 61

13 Barbarossa 62

14 Dentone 64

15 Flight of the Mujahideen 68

Nomads 73

16 The Fast 74

Nothing 81

17 The Fast, Part 2 82

18 Eyeglasses 87

Tom 91

Part V The Women

Daughter of the Dunes 95

19 The White Tent 96

20 Poetry 100

Lady Light 104

21 Five Months 105

Secret Garden 110

22 Storms in the Sahara 112

The Storm 115

Part VI The Migration

The Edge of the World 119

23 The Hunt 120

24 Racing North 123

End of the World 127

25 Sandstorm 129

Patience 131

Part VII The Tuareg People

26 Ball-Buster the Groundhog 135

For Whom the Dinner Bell Tolls 138

27 The Flood 139

The Wildflower 144

28 Solitude 145

Ghost Ship 149

29 Baba 150

The Letter 156

30 Sculpture 157

Madness and the Statue in the Sand 160

31 Rebellion 161

Wild Soul 167

32 Crazy Eyes 168

The Gods 172

33 The Video 174

Thunderstruck 177

34 Conversion 178

Falling 185

35 Race Against the Setting Sun 186

Scene 188

Part VIII Suleiman and Asiya

In Dreamland 191

36 Suleiman 192

37 The Road 194

Forest of the Lost 199

38 Husband and Wife 200

Mask of Glass 203

Part IX The Escape

Upside Down 207

39 Planning 209

Mystery 212

40 Preparations 213

41 Night 217

Of Hope and Darkness 224

42 Freedom at Daybreak 225

Guardian Angel 231

Part X Three Countries

43 Mali 235

44 The Embassy 242

45 Germany 246

46 Canada 253

Life 259

Map 260

Epilogue: A Letter to Life 263

Postscript: A Letter From Luca 267

Afterword: Al-Qaeda in the Heart of West Africa David Morin François Audet 269

Acknowledgments 275

Customer Reviews