The President's Hat (Paperback)

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By Antoine Laurain, Gallic Books (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

This entertaining French novel is like a modern game of “Drop the Handkerchief.” Francois Mitterand’s black felt hat, initially left by the head of state in a Parisian brasserie, proceeds to make its way briefly through a series of owners, each time giving the new and often beleaguered recipient unexpected courage, sudden inspiration and essential new wisdom. It’s a delightful tale, cleverly told and in the end quite satisfying. It has won several prestigious awards in France, and I recommend it highly as a light winter read. ~ Ann

— From Ann

September 2013 Indie Next List

“Alone and restless one evening, Daniel Mercier is dining at a Parisian Brasserie when Francois Mitterand, the President of France, is seated at the next table. Mitterand and his friends eat, talk of world affairs, and finally depart, but Mitterand has left his hat behind. The dazed Mercier promptly dons said hat and the next day at work he finds himself unaccountably voluble, as if under a spell. The result of his eloquence and his newly stiffened spine is a promotion which he feels he owes to his new and talismanic hat. When he inadvertently leaves that hat on a train, it falls into the hands of. To say more would be telling too much. But don't miss this charming French confection of a novel that is irresistibly whimsical, possessed of wit somewhere between that of Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader and Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog.”
— Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT


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 Fran ois 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.

About the Author

Antoine Laurain was born in Paris in the early 1970s. He is a writer, collector and director of several short films.

Praise For…

"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"
Product Details
ISBN: 9781908313478
ISBN-10: 1908313471
Publisher: Gallic Books
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
Pages: 208
Language: English