The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain – 6/10

“Desmoine took it upon himself to pour Daniel another cup of coffee. ‘Important to drink coffee,’ he added. ‘Balzac drank litres of the stuff. You’ve read Balzac, of course.’ ‘Of course,’ Daniel confirmed, never having read Balzac in his life.”

president's hat

This is such a French book. It’s an isle flottante of a novella, vignettes floating on absurd custard of a felt hat. It is essentially the story of that felt hat: left behind by President Mitterand one day in a restaurant, it bestows great blessings upon the lowly clerk who snaffles it. When he leaves it on the train, it inspires its next owner to break off a dead-end affair. Inspires a grand parfumier back to his trade, and a man to speak his mind.

It actually reminded me of Roald Dahl’s short story collection, Kiss Kiss. Something about the inevitable tragedy and/or weirdness from every encounter. Each of the characters is amusingly drawn – the over-ambitious Daniel, frivolous and fickle Mme. Marchant, Pierre Aslan the giant of perfumerie whose muse has eluded him for so long. So I actually found it quite dissatisfying to spend so little time in their company. This could easily have been twice as long and I would have enjoyed it more (although maybe I’m just not patient enough for short stories?).

I think I’m not sufficiently French to enjoy this. Or I don’t have enough experience with French history, culture and literature to enjoy it. So I’m going to give it to the Book Accumulator and see what he thinks.

Additional information:

Copy sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publisher: Gallic Books, 200 paperback pages 
Order The President’s Hatfrom Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting
Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain – 6/10

  1. winstonsdad 3 January 2014 at 6:49 pm Reply

    It’s a fun little book isn’t it I loved the nostalgia feel of it remind me of my teen years

  2. bundleofbooks 14 January 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply

    That’s the second time this week that I’ve heard good things about this book! Will add it to my wish list. I can also think of a couple of people that would probably enjoy this book (France lovers!) so will remember it for birthdays. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: