The President’s Hat-Antoine Laurain

The President’s Hat
Antoine Laurain
Gallic, Sep 3 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781908313478

In 1986, Daniel Mercier meets his wife Veronique and their child Jerome at the train station. Veronique asks her husband what he is wearing; he responds President Mitterrand’s black felt Homburg hat. The accountant explains to his spouse that while they were away, he decided to go out to eat dinner. Sitting next to him was French President François Mitterrand, former Foreign Minister Dumas and someone named Michel. Excited that he was so close he could touch the great man, Daniel mused about them asking him what he thinks about Kohl and the Soviets, but instead Mitterrand mentions to dining companions that a woman in the café is beautiful. Two hours later, the trios depart, but besides leaving Daniel still nursing his oysters, Mitterrand left behind The President’s Hat.

Filled with a new air of confidence that his family relishes, Daniel receives promotions at work. When he loses the hat, wannabe author Fanny Marquant finds it and gains the belief she can write and deserves better in her relationships so ends her nowhere trysts with a married man. The hat continues its journey helping other French with self-esteem until the Homburg returns to the President.

The President’s Hat is a wonderful whimsical tale that focuses on how a seemingly mundane Homburg magically encourages various people to believe in themselves. With the hat as the lead, the ensemble cast is fully developed; for instance readers will feel the depression of Pierre Aslan having lost his talent as an extraordinaire perfume creator and his euphoria when he obtains the hat. With this creative charmer, Antoine Laurain affirms the Gallic vision of “The best of French in English.”

Harriet Klausner


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