Their generation was anything but lost, at least in the beginning. Filled with fiery ambition and idealistic to a fault, they found their voice in the Paris of 1968 and were intent on exposing the powers of repression and the demons of Western capitalism (and what, really, was the difference?)—by any means. But the acts of violence misfired, the principles of Marxism and Maoism became emptied of meaning, and the casualties mounted. The protagonist Martin is now middle-aged; his group, “The Cause,” is disbanded; his best friend has committed suicide; and he finds he must try to explain to the man’s daughter who they were, what they thought they were doing, and what happened.
Paper Tiger takes place during one night that this unlikely couple spends driving around Paris as they revisit a somewhat distant past. This odyssey is adroitly evoked by Rolin's long, fluid sentences as they reflect the car’s route past the sundry signs of the past and advertisements of the present dotting the Paris beltway.
This prize-winning novel by one of France’s most acclaimed writers tells, through Martin, the elegiac story of a whole generation’s coming of age.