Art historian Geraldine Ricault is deeply involved in her research into the connection between 19th century French Romantic artist Théodore Géricault, the abolitionist group Les Amis des Noirs and Géricault’s mysterious death, when she meets the South African former anti-apartheid activist Allun Sigmund. As their relationship develops, and they exchange secrets, his sudden suicide leaves her bewildered. Years pass and still she finds herself going over his stories, until finally, delving into his dramatic flirtation with history, in search of the truth, she realizes that she must come to grips with the possibility that he was not as he pretended. Was her friend mere smoke and mirrors? Had she been duped?
The story unfolds through research and reminiscence, as Geraldine, a few years after Allun’s death, goes over each story told to her, as she remembers it, with a fine-tooth comb. The action alternates between Paris in the early 1800s, Toronto during the swelteringly hot summer of 2009 and South Africa in the 1970s.
The stories and events told by Allun of the last years of his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement are strangely similar to the final years of her art historical research subject’s life, Theodore Gericault, whom Geraldine has long believed committed a form of suicide by extreme behavior. She realizes that this was exactly what Allun was in pursuit of all that long hot summer, right under her nose, in her very own company.
The complete novel is available. Private requests to read all 25 chapters will be entertained by the author. Publishers should contact Suzanne directly.
Suzanne Tevlin is an artist, art historian and writer. Author of “The Conspiracy of Silence; Gericault’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ and the Abolitionist Movement” and “The Invisible Woman: Searching for The Black Female in Western Art”, she is currently working on a story of art historical fiction called “Truth – A Novel”. Suzanne was the only Canadian artist to be invited to take part in the exhibition “GOLD” at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.