The red notebook




Charming and intriguing this another excellent story from Parisian author Antoine Laurain. I had previously read his best selling book The President’s Hat and this follows in a similar style – a light hearted tale about fate and chance that always stays just on the right side of whimsical.

Young widow Laure, a gilder, is mugged for her handbag outside her Paris home late at night. The attack leaves her hospitalised. Early the next morning bookseller Laurent finds her bag on top of a bin as he walks to work. In an act of citizenship he takes the bag along to the police station but finds they are too busy to process his discovery. Laurent takes the bag home and decides he will find the owner himself using the objects in her handbag (minus the stolen purse, phone and ID) as clues. Her red notebook in particular, with its list of likes and fears, holds vital pointers to her identity and whereabouts as does her signed copy of a novel by a local author.

This is a bookish, romantic story full of Parisian life, fabulous in its pleasant pace Continue reading

Hats off to this charming French fable

the president's hatantoine laurain1


Antoine Laurain’s superbly translated novel is a charming fable to behold. An uplifting example of genuine storytelling that skips along at a lighthearted but fast pace from beginning to end.
The story is set in the heart of the 80s where we find accountant Daniel Mercer dining alone in a classy Parisian brasserie. Astonishingly, he is soon joined at the next table by the formidable President Francois Mitterrand. Daniel enjoys an unbelievable evening of eavesdropping and beams in the presence of France’s leader.

On leaving the restaurant, Mitterrand leaves his black felt hat behind. After only a moment’s consideration, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary night. The hat changes hands (and heads) when it is lost, found, left again and taken by the wrong person. Each of its temporary owners are stunned to find their lives changing remarkably as if the hat has taken on special powers of magic and destiny. Continue reading