The President's Hat

( 1 )

Overview

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 ...

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The President's Hat

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/15/2013
Winner of the Prix Landerneau Découvertes and Prix Relay des Voyageurs, this delightful "1980s fairy tale for adults" is the story of how a black felt hat belonging to French president François Mitterand transforms the lives of those who possess it. One November evening in 1986, Parisian accountant Daniel Mercier is enjoying a solitary plateau royal de fruits de mer when the head of state and his dinner companions are seated next to him. The awed Daniel prolongs his own meal until the presidential party departs two hours and seven minutes later. "Never again, he told himself, would he be able to eat oysters with vinegar without hearing those words: 'As I was saying to Helmut Kohl last week.' " Upon discovering that Mitterand forgot his hat, Daniel takes the chapeau as a souvenir and finds a new confidence when he wears it: "In a strange way, he felt that something of the President was there in the hat. Something intangible…. But whatever it was, it had the power of destiny." Daniel is promoted and transfers with his family to a new city, but the hat, left behind on the train, begins its journey from owner to owner, working its strange magic. VERDICT Laurain's gentle, satirical humor remind this reviewer of Jacques Tati's classic films, and, no, you don't have to know French politics to enjoy this charming novel. Fans of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog will want this. [Ten-city tour as part of ABA's "Indies Introduce Debut Authors" promotion; previewed in "A World of New Titles," LJ 7/13.—Ed.]—Wilda Williams, Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781908313478
  • Publisher: Gallic Books Limited
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 217,770
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


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

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 14, 2013

    ThePresident's Hat is a book by Antoine Laurain. The book starts

    ThePresident's Hat is a book by Antoine Laurain. The book starts in a Parisian brasserie. An accountant, Daniel Mercier, is astonished
     to see President Francois Mitterrand sit down to eat at the table next to him. He's even more surprised when Mitterrand leaves,
     forgetting to take his black felt hat.

    From the moment Mercier picks up the hat and puts it on his head, he changes. In fact, his life changes. He sets out with the idea that he
     will return the hat, but the hat makes such a difference in his life that he can't give it up. He becomes more sure of himself. He moves up
     in the status of life. The lives of those around him change.

    Mercier is not the only one affected by the President's hat. When he loses it, someone else picks it up. And their life changes.

    The President's Hat was interesting. I enjoyed watching (or reading) the changes that occur because of a hat. It’s not that the hat is
     magical. It's more about what the hat symbolizes to each individual who puts it on and then sees themselves differently.

    Just under 200 pages, The President's Hat is not a long book. It kept me reading, though. I enjoyed seeing the changes these people
     underwent, all because of how the hat made them feel and how others saw them.

    I give The President's Hat a rating of Hel-of-an-Idea.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    FTC Disclaimer: The President's Hat was sent to me by Antoine Laurain's publicist. This did not affect my review. I thought it was a new
     twist on character growth. Mercier and the others who wore the hat may have become more confident on their own even if they'd never
     found the hat. But probably not. Was it actually magical? Read the book and decide for yourself. I'm going to keep my eyes open for
     lost hats. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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