In 1962, while he was a student in Paris, John Hanson Mitchell spent a luminous six months on the Mediterranean island of Corsica at the Rose Caf , in Ile Rousse. Twenty-two, Mitchell spent his idyll hours there observing the lives of the people who frequented the place. These included a group of local card players (some with possible underworld connections) who visited each night, as well as colorful continental types and a younger crowd at play -- all spellbound by the lush charms of the island. In the polished prose that has made his other books so distinctive and well-loved, Mitchell captures the rhythms and intrigues of a life lived elsewhere, bringing us an insider's portrait of the light and dark shadows that loomed over postwar Corsica. He reveals in the process the island's magic at work on his own life -- how it cultivated the bloom of his writing talent and shaped his sense of place.