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Publication in France:
17 August 2017

240 pages

Saint Anthony's Fire

Frédéric Aribit

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Humans have been consuming wheat since the dawn of time, and yet this mundane cereal has been the cause of numerous mysterious deaths ever since Antiquity.

Ergot, a kind of fungus which grows on some varieties of wheat and possesses properties similar to LSD, provoked outbreaks of madness in medieval villages, collective hysteria and pitiless witch-hunts, and yet for centuries, nobody knew why these people were falling prey to insanity.

This madness has a name: Saint Anthony’s Fire. And it is the disease which is afflicting Lou, the wayward muse and lover of the Parisian professor who is the hero of this novel. Accompanying her in her delirious and extraordinary meanderings across Paris, he is willing to put his life on the line in the hope of saving her.

A hallucinatory saga of love and death, this is a meticulously researched literary novel about a fascinating subject, conveyed in a vibrant and poetic style.


Frederic Aribit was born in Bayonne in 1972. The holder of PhD in literature, he currently teaches in Paris. Following on from Trois langues dans ma bouche (Belfond, 2015), Le Mal des ardents is his third novel.

More information in french