‘The President’s Hat’ by Antoine Laurain

The President's HatstarstarstarstarThis is an original, optimistic, and inventive story about a hat. But not just any hat. President François Mitterrand leaves his black felt hat in a Paris brasserie. His initials F.M. are embroidered into the lining. Daniel Mercier finds the hat after the President leaves the restaurant and decides to take it. He puts it on his head and extraordinary things begin to happen! A highly enjoyable, multi-layered and clever little read!

The setting of the book is the 80’s, which feels rather recent, but when we think about how far technology has come since then, we realise how the story would have played out very differently today, when we have a dizzying array of technological devices at our fingertips. There wasn’t even any internet then and sometimes we feel nostalgic for such a simpler time. So when Daniel is randomly seated next to the charismatic President in the restaurant, there would have been nothing more for him than a special memory and an interesting story to tell. Nowadays, pictures would immediately have been beamed around the planet with the aid of his smart phone. Has the charm of a moment in the 80’s scenario been lost to the capability of the present day?

A brilliant illustration of this question is seen in this photo, comparing the introduction of the new Pope in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013. Those are not candles burning… 🙂

New Pope in St. Peter's Square

2 responses to “‘The President’s Hat’ by Antoine Laurain

  1. What a book! Totally engrossing, helped to pass the time on a long airplane trip.

    • Thanks for your comments Joan. I’ll report back to you on McCall Smith. Let me know if you want me to ask him anything in case I get a chance. Where did you go on the airplane?

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