The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain


“Perhaps, when all was said and done, it was just as easy to leave someone’s life as to enter it. A stroke of fate and a few words could be enough to start a relationship. A stroke of fate and a few words could end it too.”

A hat can enter and leave a life too, as we see in these interconnected lives.

I am listening to the song by Gainsborough ( Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais) which means roughly, I came to tell you that I am going away. It is quite the emotional song and fits beautifully in this charming little book. It is about Mitterand’s hat that by fate and a little red handed thieving ends up on the heads of several characters. Peopled by characters we want to tag along with to see how this hat, as it passes heads, brings change into each life. For Daniel, the man who first sees an opportune moment to try the hat on when the president leaves it behind while dining out, tries it on and rather likes it- he finds courage, bite! He must take the hat! For Fanny it’s found on a train and opens her eye to an affair that has her stuck, for Aslan who once made famous perfumes he finds his nose for it again and a blossoming for life. I was rather tickled by his situation, the therapy sessions with the quiet Fremenberg renowned for being so great… 6 years of therapy? I felt like I was in the room with the awkward silence. I was charmed by the smells Aslan describes. He was by far my favorite character.

The magic is quiet and beautiful, does the hat have power? Did some of the charisma bleed through the object of a powerful man? Certainly aside from Daniel, the others don’t know immediately who the hat belonged to. That is takes place in France, always makes the surroundings a character. The 80’s had a magic of their own too, as any time period does, connection wasn’t like it is now, but somehow this hat is a thread in several lives. I am a sucker for stories like this, sometimes you just need to read something that tickles you. There is passion and romance, but it doesn’t consume the story. Each person has a need for the hat, and though it’s quickly told, it’s a lot of story. The Epilogue is such fun, I am happy with the endings.

A delight indeed!

Gallic Books

A delight indeed!

Gallic Books




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