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  • 9781908313478_FC
Edition details


eBook ISBN

Publication date
28th March 2013


Gallic Books


Extent (number of pages)

Jane Aitken, Emily Boyce & Louise Rogers Lalaurie


Worldwide : Exclusive

BIC category

US publication date
10th September 2013



The President’s Hat

(Le Chapeau de Mitterrand)


A charm-filled story about the power residing in a very special hat.

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A charm-filled story about the power residing in a very special hat.

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.

Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he 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.

—– Winner of the Prix Landerneau Découvertes and Prix Relay des Voyageurs —–
Waterstones Spring Book Club 2013 —– Kindle Top 5 Title —- ABA Indies Introduce Choice —- Shortlisted for the Typographical Translation Award 2013
‘A hymn to la vie Parisienne … enjoy it for its fabulistic narrative, and the way it teeters pleasantly on the edge of Gallic whimsy’ Nicholas Lezard’s Paperback of the Week, The Guardian
‘Flawless … a funny, clever, feel-good social satire with the page-turning quality of a great detective novel’ Rosie Goldsmith
‘A fable of romance and redemption’ Christian House, The Telegraph
‘An enchanting, irresistible story which flows quickly and effortlessly from one vivid character to the next, capturing their essence in a minimum of words and with a vitality that never ceases to surprise and delight.’ Lancashire Evening Post
‘Antoine Laurain’s delightful The President’s Hat remains my favourite book of 2013 … an absolute gem, guaranteed to make you smile.’ Susan Osborne (A Life in Books) for We Love This Book books of the year
‘Captures the same romantic, whimsical, nostalgic feeling that the film Amélie did so well – partly because it is set in the 1980s, so before computers, mobile phones and social networking, partly as the plot is also driven by accident and chance. One of the pleasures of the book is that it is a personal, special discovery. You feel that you have stumbled across a book that nobody else knows about. Your relationship with the book is the same as that of the various characters to the hat itself – you are blessed to have come across it.’ Yellow Lighted Bookshop for Independents’ view of 2013’s best books in the Guardian
‘Full of charm and humour, this short book looks at how a small change in attitude can have significant differences to lives. It’s a delightful little read.’ The Bookbag
‘Its gentle satirical humor reminded me of Jacques Tati’s classic films, and, no, you don’t have to know French politics to enjoy this novel’ Library Journal
‘The most feel-good book I’ve read in years.’ Francofille
‘Part eccentric romance, part detective story … this book makes perfect holiday reading’ The Lady
‘A quirky, enchanting love story that will surely soften the hardest of cynics.’ We Love This Book
Bonus Material
On 80s political icons and the world before mobile phones
Watch a video interview with Antoine Laurain


Antoine Laurain

Meet the author

Antoine Laurain is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, director and collector of antique keys. A truly born and bred Parisian, after studying film, he began his career directing short films and writing screenplays. His passion for art led him to take a job assisting an antiques dealer in Paris. Th…

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