From Publishers Weekly
A fictionalized account of the life of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's older brother, Audeguy's second novel (after The Theory of Clouds
) offers a fragmented, sometimes frustrating history of François Rousseau and the momentous century in which he lived. Born in Geneva in 1705, seven years before his renowned brother, and left to fend for himself after his mother dies, François finds a mentor in the Comte de Saint-Fonds, who initiates him into a world of science and reason while simultaneously illuminating forbidden desires. After a sojourn in a Geneva prison and a brief apprenticeship to a watchmaker, François escapes to Paris, where he establishes himself among the libertines and devotes his talents to producing devices designed to further his patrons' erotic pursuits. But as the Revolution approaches, François finds that Paris is no longer a safe haven. Audeguy's precision with respect to language and detail belie the novel's faulty structure, a series of short, almost truncated scenes that keep the reader from full immersion. Still, the novel's fresh view of an oft-covered era is worth the price of admission. (Sept.)
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UK PRAISE FOR THE ONLY SON
"Audeguy's novel moves along smartly and is told with relish, an engaging wryness of manner and bold piacaresque inventiveness . . . an absorbing and intelligent entertainment."The Times Literary Supplement (London)
PRAISE FOR THE THEORY OF CLOUDS
"Beautiful, sensuous, cerebral, this novel is the work of a major talent."The Seattle Times
"A subtle mixture of history and fiction, tragedy and comedy."The Washington Post Book World
While many wonderful characters emerge in this novel, none is more ubiquitous and yet more ambiguous than Jean-Jacques himself, who acts as a silent partner to events of the French Revolution and the formation of the republic. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
Stephan Audeguy has chosen an obscure, but wonderfully eccentroc protagonist for his second novel, The Only Son...the sensual decadence of the age is fully conveyed...It's an exuberant reply to the younger Rousseau's fabled Confessions.
(New York Magazine
The Only Son is couched in an elegant pastiche of 18th-Century prose, masterfully rendered into English by John Cullen
(The Seattle Times
Audeguy's inventive novel profiles the older, smarter brother of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussea...Francois's apologia is less a sour-grapes critique of his brother's theories than a cynical deconstruction of the revolutionary ideals they presaged.
It's quite an achievement, this picaresque adventure, which reads without any false notes of anachronism and in John Cullen's translation harmonizes beautifully with the cadence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's style.
(New York Times Book Review
The novel's fresh view of an oft-covered era is worth the price of admission.