About the Author
The life of Kurban Said is surrounded by mystery–a story as exotic as his fiction, as a recent article in The New Yorker revealed. It is believed that Kurban Said was a confected name representing the writing of one Essad Bey and his collaboration with an Austrian countess, the Baroness Elfriede Ehrenfels. Essad Bey was itself an assumed name of Lev Nussimbaum, who was Jewish, born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1905. In his youth Nussimbaum became a convert to Islam and in the early 1920s he associated himself with literary and journalistic circles in Berlin. In the late 1930s he reportedly fled from Nazi Germany to Austria, where he became involved with the family of Elfriede Ehrenfels. After Austria began to fall into the Nazi ambit it is believed that Essad Bey fled to Italy, where he died in 1942.