Tarabas: A Guest on Earth

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Set in the early days of the Russian Revolution, Tarabas tells the story of Nicholas Tarabas, a young revolutionary, shamefully dispatched from St Petersburg to New York by his outraged family. During a visit to Coney Island's amusement park, the deeply superstitious Tarabas learns from a gypsy that it is his destiny to be both a murderer and a saint and, following a fight with a local cafe owner, he flees back to Russia as war with Austria is declared. Following his rapid promotion to army Captain, Tarabas gains a fearful reputation amongst his soldiers and the local villagers, until a miraculous discovery unleashes a chain of events that see him undergo a final, dramatic transformation. It is Roth's special gift that, in Tarabas's fulfilling of his tragic destiny, the larger movements of history find their perfect expression in the fate of one man.