Shopping Cart

The Weight of Sand

My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara

Regular price $34.95

This book is not yet available. Contact us with questions or information requests.

  • ISBN: 9781771649094
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Current Affairs & Politics, Literary Non-Fiction,
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6

Available September 21, 2021!

The true story of one woman’s kidnapping and 450 days of captivity in the Sahara Desert at the hands of terrorists—and her stunning escape to freedom. 

In January 2019, news outlets reported that a young Canadian woman and her Italian companion were presumed kidnapped while traveling in Africa’s Sahel region, a haven for Islamic terrorists.

Little was known about the pair’s fate until they reappeared in Mali more than one year later, having apparently escaped their captors. 

Now, in The Weight of Sand, Edith Blais tells the harrowing story of her 450 days of captivity for the first time—and reveals that writing poetry with a borrowed pen helped save her life.

The book includes the luminous poems Edith wrote in secret, which became a lifeline of creativity and one of the few possessions she smuggled out in her escape, strapped to her leg under her clothes.

Blais recounts the prolonged terror of her months as a hostage, enduring violent sandstorms, constant relocations, grueling hunger strikes, extreme isolation, and the unpredictability of her captors.

A compelling descent into a strange, brutal universe, Desert Hostage is ultimately a life-affirming book—a celebration of resilience by a woman who refused to have her humanity stripped away from her.

  • First time Edith will tell her story: Edith has never given an interview or talked about her experience before writing this book.
  • Poetry saved her life: writing poetry with a borrowed pen, on whatever scraps of paper she could find, helped saved Edith’s life while she was held hostage. Her poems are printed in the book.
  • High-profile hostage situation: Edith made international headlines when she and her travel companion were abducted in December 2018 by an Islamic terrorist organization. 
  • Civilian perspective: Unlike other hostage memoirs, Edith’s is from the perspective of a civilian, offering a unique voice to this devastating experience.
  • Literary kidnapping thriller: Edith offers a powerful new literary voice.

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.