Tallien: A brief romance

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9780374272494: Tallien: A brief romance

Tallien begins as the story of an estranged father and son. The relationship is strained over the years by the father's efforts to organize restaurant workers during the Depression. After 30 years of separation, the son visits his father’s deathbed and offers the story of Jean Lambert Tallien, leader of the French Revolution. The book skillfully slips from the present day story of father and son to the story of Tallien's rise and fall. His role and position in the French Revolution is jeopardized when he meets and falls in love with Terese de Fontenay, the widow of a recently beheaded nobleman. Eventually, Tallien’s passion for Terese sways him into joining Napolean’s forces.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The narrator begins this slim, taut and poignant narrative with a description of his father, "the John Wayne of socialism," a Southern Baptist who organized restaurant workers in New York during the Depression. After a 30-year separation, the son visits the father's deathbed and, mindful of the man's early ideals, segues into his cautionary tale of the rise and fall of Jean Lambert Tallien, leader of the French Revolution. In brisk vernacular, Tuten tells of Tallien's intense commitment as a young man to the Revolutionary Commune, his election to the Committee of General Security, and then his fateful encounter with the beautiful Therese de Fontenay, widow of a recently beheaded nobleman. Subtly, love mitigates Talleine's zeal; soon he is arranging escapes for Therese's friends, jeopardizing his standing with the Committee until, in a gesture both historic and purely personal, he turns the delegates against Robespierre. For a while, Tallien and Therese are leading social and political figures, but passions and ideals shift. Therese has not shed her aristocratic ways and urges Tallien to join Napoleon's campaign in Egypt.Years later, divorced, impoverished and forgotten, Tallien dreams of reconciliation, not with the egalitarian ideals of his youth, but with Therese. By moving from the contemporary to the historical, Tuten (The Adventures of Mao on the Long March) makes implicit, ironic references to the passions of both heart and mind. His supple, witty prose engages the reader in a thought-provoking work.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

As in his first novel, The Adventures of Mao on the Long March (1971), Tuten examines the interior life of a historical figure caught up in the turbulent events of his time. Tallien's activities in revolutionary France are juxtaposed with the narrator's father's union activity and its negative effect on the family. The father-son story is only sketchily outlined; the onus of working out the relationship between the two tales is left to the reader. Tuten's exploration of the theme of man's obsession with a cause, whether just or unjust, and its consequences, is a worthy and thought-provoking subject. Still, the style and structure of this slight work may limit its readership. Recommended with reservations. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Tuten, Frederic
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