The President's Hat
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This prize-winning French bestseller is a charming fable about the power of a hat that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through French life during the Mitterrand years.
Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.
After the presidential party has gone, Daniel discovers that Mitterrand's black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments' soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It's a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow . . . different.
Has Daniel unwittingly discovered the secret of supreme power?
For two years the iconic item of headgear plays with the lives of the men and women who wear it, bringing them success that had previously eluded them. Antoine Laurain's brilliantly orchestrated tour captures entertaining portraits of a rich gallery of characters.
Shot through with a delicious, wicked sense of humor, The President's Hat is a vivid re-creation of the everyday life of an era.
"As entertaining as it is original, this is a story to enjoy like a chocolate with a surprise centre."—Marie France
"An enjoyable trip into the heart of the 1980s."—Le Figaro
"Impossible to resist"—L'Express
Antoine Laurain was born in Paris. He is a writer, collector, and director of several short films.
Solstice was only just beginning to take its place. Pierre Aslan, who hadn’t created anything for eight years now, was not in Parc Monceau by chance. For the last five years he had been seeing a psychoanalyst, Dr Fremenberg, and had formed the habit of walking in the park for quarter of an hour or so each week before his appointments. Five years of spending six hundred francs a week for very little result. In less than ten minutes it would be time for another of these silent sessions to begin.
scents while in his grandfather’s Provençal kitchen garden. Neither the peppery smell of a rubbed tomato leaf, nor the mellow, enveloping odour of mint elicited the slightest reaction from his analyst. Even when Pierre had talked about his son Éric and how he worried about what would become of him, Fremenberg still did not react. In three and a half months, he had not heard his analyst speak. He was greeted at the start of each session by a discreet handshake and a silent nod. No words were
in a café awaiting the return of her husband, a captain in the merchant navy, prefigured my own brief fling with a fisherman, since six months later I found myself in that woman’s place, sitting in a café waiting for him. This time, the character of the older man with the hat had come to me out of nowhere and yet, since the prize ceremony, I must admit he has become an important part of my life, and that my life is changing. I’m not sure I will stick around in Le Havre much longer, and I’m
haven’t gone leftie on us, have you, old chap?’ Pierre Chastagnier asked slyly. ‘Batting for the other side now, are we?’ chuckled Frédérique de la Tour. Bernard felt something inside he could not put his finger on; a sensation of total peace and warmth was enveloping him, spreading all the way up his spine. It reached his neck, then his head, and a mysterious smile played on his lips. ‘What exactly do you have against Mitterrand?’ he asked softly. ‘We’re all sitting around this table the same
had a society ball that evening. Nobody brought it up again until the Friday. Under his wife’s disapproving glare, Bernard put on his Prince of Wales suit jacket, slipped on his Burberry mac and donned his black felt hat. ‘I’m off,’ he said matter-of-factly. Charlotte lowered her book and watched him leave without a word. Bernard walked down two flights of stairs and rang on the doorbell of the Djian residence. ‘My wife is a little under the weather,’ he announced. The Rolls convertible