The President's Hat (Paperback)

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By Antoine Laurain, Gallic Books (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

"You see a hat by itself, no owner in sight. It might be in a restaurant, or perhaps on a train’s luggage shelf. And this is not just anyone’s hat, but François Mitterand’s himself. And if you happen to put this one, how will your life change? You could stand up to your boss, or maybe to your married lover. You might even become a tad more liberal. Antoine Laurain’s delightful novel can be read in so many different ways—as a Francophile lark, as a sweet and modern fairytale, as a pointed satire, and even as a philosophical treatise. To give you my elevator pitch, it is The Uncommon Reader meets The Elegance of the Hedgehog. And the best part is that it is completely and utterly charming, no matter which way you approach it. How can you not want to read it?"

— Daniel Goldin

"A charming and soulful tale about an ordinary hat that seems to be imbued with an extraordinary power. Each person who wears it--among them, a young woman having an affair and a man whose creative gifts have been hampered--finds within themselves a new strength to take big leaps that change the entire direction of their lives. As the hat passes from person to person, we find ourselves wishing that we, too, could find a hat with 'a spirit that can change depending on the winds and variations of Fortune.'"

— Stacie M. Williams

"Most of us are plagued with self-doubt, inaction and regret. We fail to make critical decisions because we freeze at the repercussions; we come up with the perfect retort for an argument that has long since lapsed; we writhe in sleepless anxiety over our inability to extricate ourselves from circumstances we deem out of our control. But what if there was something with the power to change all that. What if some talisman of mystical power could imbue its possessor with the self-confidence to overcome even the most intransigent obstacles? A talisman like, say, a hat. The President's hat. I loved this book."

— Conrad Silverberg

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