Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The President's Hat - Antoine Laurain

Ah!  a French author!  Don't turn away.... for if you have anything against foreign authors, you may miss a trick.  This short novel (208 pages) just tells you the story of a hat.  Not exciting? Not romantic?  Not breathtaking?  Well..... that's right, but let's have a closer look.

Francois Mitterrand, president of France in the 1980s, out for supper at a Paris restaurant with two colleagues one night, leaves his hat behind in error.  Daniel Mercier had been sitting at the next table, not quite a guest at the table, but near enough to follow the conversation and to realise that when Mitterrand leaves, the hat stays.  It seems that fate has dealt a good hand to Daniel, for when he puts the hat on his head he feels different, and it's not long before he begins to act in an entirely different way.

The hat will not stay with Daniel, it has several more heads to sit on, but every wearer appreciates that it changes their life in some way.  Sometimes it's a huge change, sometimes just something that needed a little nudge.  It's a wonderful little novel, tells you a lot about human nature in all it's guises, including human failings,  I loved all the characters once they had got the hat on, my especial favourite was the lovely Peirre Aslan, perfume "nose" who had lost his skill after a long period of depression.

I think you might enjoy this, it's a little different, and good because of that. Certainly it's a marmite book.  I had a look at the reviews on Amazon, and the majority are 5 star.  But there are a few 1 star, and one of those is short and succinct.  It just says "Rubbish" - bit strong, eh?  and certainly not true, even if it's a book to make you smile rather than get the goosebumps going!