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The French Revolution

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Loosely structured on the greatest identity crisis ever, The French Revolution is the hilarious, tragic, and deeply imaginative story of a San Francisco family forging its place in history.

Esmerelda Van Twinkle, a failed pastry chef turned outsized copy shop manager, stumbles into motherhood after a semi-intentional liaison with good-natured coupon distributor Jasper Winsl
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Soft Skull Press (first published July 8th 2009)
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3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  48 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
it was better than i thought it would be. With stories like this, you tend to kinda expect to know where it goes. but, this one didn't do that. it went in directions i hadn't even thought of. not that I thought it was gonna go all crazy-like. it just went...elsewhere. i don't think i'm explaining this well.

but anyway, yeah. it was really good: nice obligatory convoluted characters and interweaving plotlines. i would use the phrase "a delicious read", cuz i ate it up.
Matt Stewart
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: People who love to laugh
Best book ever. I wrote it, so I might be biased.

If you're interested in reading The French Revolution at your book club, I'd be happy to join your club via Skype. Ping me via to schedule a time.
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Begin Second Review:

Coming off A Hundred Years of Solitude, I was hungry for some more magical realism. Before that there was Swamplandia! I had read The French Revolution about a year ago, attracted to its novelty of being the first novel entirely published in Twitter. I got more than I bargained for, and the second time around was no disappointment. The magic was still there.

I don't know if I would classify it as magical realism, but the prose is over the top and so rubbery I felt like I was
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Sooooooooo...I don't know. Almost too quirky at times, and yet I kept reading. Maybe if I knew more than the barest bones about the French Revolution, I might have benefited from some historical context for this unpredictable, over-the-top, semi-hostile story. It's safe to say that parts of the book mirror historical events, but for all I know it's a play-by-play Revolution re-enactment set in modern San Francisco.

Read this book if you're looking for literature based in the Bay Area, and if you
Tony DuShane
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great novel, hell, I blurbed it.

Stewart is a disturbed, sick important prerequisite for a wordsmith.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
From author
Oh my. It is very unlike me to take two full weeks to read a 300 page book cover to cover. Though partially due to the fact that most of my days off this month have been packed to the gills with errands and day trips, it's also due to the novel itself and my lack of motivation to pick it up once it had been put down.

The French Revolution was recommended to me by an author friend, and also pitched to me by author Matt Stewart himself. I initially hemmed and hawed over it, feeling very
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I just ... I can't. I hate that I keep not finishing books. But this book was too weird. I didn't like it, but I also didn't not like it. I honestly don't know what my feelings are about the first hundred and three pages of The French Revolution. I started out incredibly disgusted by Tue descriptions of the 400 pound Esmerelda, and was appalled when I correctly guessed that this woman wasn't going to know she was pregnant until she gave birth, but I was intrigued by the words that disgusted me. ...more
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Can anything calling itself The French Revolution end well for anyone involved? Revolutions rarely do: it’s only the descendants who will prosper.
This is a story about ordinary people living in extraordinary times far removed from its namesake’s. It’s not even set in France, but San France-isco. So when I say “ordinary” I don’t mean Midwestern Average. These are quirky people. One starts literary life weighing roughly a full quarter ton, while her scrawny paramour ekes out his life one step abov
Thomas Burchfield
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Bay Area author Matt Stewart has turned loose a bright, peppery, infectious, debut novel, The French Revolution, an irreverent literacy farce that entertains for most of its cheerfully eccentric path. It’s fresh, funny, and bright, qualities seldom found in our overly earnest literature, when low-rent genre novels like Twilight are written with earnestness more applicable to John Steinbeck and Eugene O’Neill."

Read the rest of my review of matt Stewart's book at my web page:
Andrew Dugas
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a fun romp, a buffet at a party vs. a sit-down formal dinner (or a slice of pizza). As much as I enjoyed the read, I often found myself stylistically at odds. Stewart often paints with a broad brush -- an often bright and witty and clever brush -- whereas I am more of an "in scene" kind of reader.

That said, Stewart often struck me with some remarkably poetic lines and details. The most memorable was when a character sees a beautiful Asian-American woman and sees her black hair as "the
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I get the idea that the author was aiming to write A Confederacy of Dunces for San Francisco, a convoluted tale filled with fascinating/repulsive characters. I think I would have enjoyed that book. This was just irritating with very little payoff. Morbidly obese people eat a lot and don't exercise--I GET IT. Robespierre's character becomes whatever is needed at any given moment--annoying, but fine, I can accept that. Certain revelations brought to light in the final chapter are just glossed over ...more
Nov 12, 2011 added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This is another book with a story based in San Francisco that I picked up for my trip. This one, however, didn't really grab me. I did get the impression that it was going for a "Confederacy of Dunces" vibe, and I wasn't particularly thrilled with that book, so that could be another reason I didn't feel like continuing. Though, if you're one of the many fans of "Confederacy" then this might be worth checking out. (Or you might disagree with the comparison, or take umbrage at the author's audacit ...more
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really disliked all the characters in this novel, and there was just some really bizarre info in it, TMI. It was apparently tweeted when first written so kind of a new media sensation, but just didn't do much for me.
Pat Lampe
Just too much information about a disfunctional woman and her family. I didn't get very far in the book because I couldn't stand to picture any of it. Eeuu.
Dylan Suher
Couldn't finish
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is not bad for a first novel. It had some interesting characters but the plot jumped around too much.
Rambling Reader
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
cray cray!
Marty Beaudet
Difficult for me to get into. I don't usually read farce.
Martin Bannon
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Oct 05, 2012
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Jesse Isaacs
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Aug 22, 2010
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Apr 19, 2012
Kyle McCarthy
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Feb 08, 2011
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Matt Stewart's debut novel, The French Revolution, will be released on Bastille Day 2010. He made headlines worldwide when he posted The French Revolution on Twitter starting on Bastille Day 2009. His short stories have appeared in Instant City, McSweeneys, and Opium Magazine, among other venues, and, when the moonlight strikes just right across the alpine lake in his mind, he's been known to blog ...more