Kohler shows us France and the French, the world and life through the eyes of a terrified, yet educated Ethiopian refugee Dawit. Dawit meets the famous author, known only as M., who completely transforms his life through a chance meeting in a café. His striking good looks and past education are endearing to the aging author and she invites Dawit to arrive at her home in a few days and she will remove him from the slum and help him. Not only does M. remove Dawit from poverty, fear and the charity of his only friend, she transforms his life. Dawit acts as M.’s secretary, editor and companion and as he is draped in expensive clothes and well fed, she hopes for more from the young man. M. shows Dawit off, but it becomes clear to her that he has no sexual interest in her, not only because of her age and the circumstance, but also because he is gay.
Dawit is bright, fluent in multiple languages and has a terrible past as a refugee. All of this reflects his aristocratic upbringing and his terrible time after an uprising in his homeland.A quiet character at first, Dawit grows to be a figure of passion, strength and intrigue. M. is of course presented as a formidable character, but as her sexual advances are continually rebuffed, her jealousy grows and her dark side emerges more so than her surface personality. When the two travel to her villa, known as The Bay of Foxes, more layers of the story unfold as M. begins to fade away and Dawit falls in love with another man.
Great Ending! Great read!