Courland is an entity that no longer exists. With the Gulf of Riga to the north, the Baltic to the west and Lithuania at its southern border, and now part of modern Latvia, the region was occupied by Nazi Germany and returned to Soviet Russia after the war, remaining largely inaccessible until 1991.
It is now a nowhere land of wide skies and forests, deserted beaches, ruined castles and ex-KGB prisons. For years Jean-Paul Kauffmann has been irresistibly drawn to this buffer between the Germanic and Slav worlds. His digressive travels at the wheel of a Skoda become an investigation into the whereabouts of a former lover, a search for an excavator of tombs, and a journey in the footsteps of Louis XVIII, for whom Courland was once a place of exile.