Winner of the 2009 Académie française Grand Prix du roman
In The Eleven, Michon lets us into the world of Corentin, a painter shaped by—and who eventually shapes—history. Brought up among provincial aristocracy to become a favorite of Parisian society—his paintings are commissioned by Louis XV’s mistress—Corentin’s career rides the tides of the French Revolution. His masterpiece, “The Eleven,” is an enigmatic Last Supper, representing the eleven members of the Committee of Public Safety (including Robespierre and Saint Just) during the Reign of Terror. Corentin and company, his work of art, and the historical tableau of the French Revolution come to life in dazzling, even painterly, detail. A potent blend of fact and fiction, The Eleven is a beautifully written, astute meditation on the nature of history itself and the artist’s role in it.