The profile of the narrator who, at the beginning of the novel, has already worked for the PUBLISHER to bring together and shape all the aspects of a novel entitled les Mille et une nuits de Poliphile, is an important one, since he is both the main link to the sponsor, the main line of communication to the author, organiser and coordinator of all they journeys. In addition to his background in literature and cinema, as well as biology, he is the same ago as the author.  This time, then, the narrator is going to have this particular writing task, but he is also going to partake in the journeys of the novel on the thermal spa towns.  He is taking the name Valery for this adventure, for he discovers that the character he is going to “put on” possesses many of the traits of the travel writer Valery Larbaud (1881-1957), who was born in Vichy and spent his childhood in Bourbonnais.  European by nature, Larbaud travelled as much in Britain as in Italy, in Spain as in Portugal, all countries whose language he mastered to perfection, to the level of being able to translate certain authors’ innovative works, such as those of James Joyce.

As a result, the modern-day character will be a traveller, full of imagination, an avid reader, who speaks and writes in several languages, and corresponds with hundreds of friends through all the latest media at his disposal: e-readers, DVD players, iPads, social networking sites.  He is both “technical” and “trendy”, a connoisseur of contemporary cinema and the visual arts, but is still eager to rediscover the atmosphere of bygone eras, about which his grandparents and great-grandparents often spoke to him.  Eras whose traces are particularly notable in the thermal towns.