Eighteenth-century Europe, where the neoclassical ideals of balance and harmony are in tragic contrast with the squalor and violence of daily life, where the notion of a social contract emerges against a background of public torture and shameless political cynicism, where unprecedented advances in the sciences are besieged by militant superstition and religious bigotrythis is the Enlightenment, and Francisco Rebolledo's astonishing novel chronicles a soul's voyage through its hazards. The soul is that of Fausto Rasero, a young Spaniard hungry for wisdom. And what a peculiar hero Rasero is - bald since birth, sexually and intellectually precocious at his wet nurse's breast, passionate in manhood, tolerant, warmhearted. Strangely enough, Rasero is also orgasmically clairvoyant, given at the moment of carnal release to apocalyptic visions in which he beholds what we recognize as the horrors of our own century: the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, the Vietnam War. Rasero settles in Paris, the hub of European intellectual life. As he tries to reconcile the sanguine promises of the Enlightenment with the chilling prophecies of his visions, he comes to know virtually every important figure of his time. Through him we encounter the Marquise de Pompadour, Voltaire, Hume, Lavoisier, Diderot, Mozart, Rousseau, and such colorful secondary characters as an innkeeper's bawdy daughter, a lust-ridden priest, and a political zealot who dies accused of attempted regicide.
Original title: Rasero
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European