The Journey of a Book: from Paris to Western Australia
It’s amazing to see the journey a book can take when helped on its way by passionate booksellers.
This story begins last year at Hungerford Bookshop where a holidaying Australian bookseller picked up a copy of Parisian author Antoine Laurain’s first book in English, The President’s Hat.
This bookseller, Yvette Walker, returned to work 9,000 miles away at Collins Booksellers, nestled in Napoleon Street in the town of Cottesloe, Western Australia, and set about ordering up copies of Antoine Laurain’s novel for her own customers. A bestseller was born. Yvette told us: ‘Every single customer we recommended the book to has loved it, and that just doesn’t happen every day.’
Fellow Collins bookseller and resident artist, Anne Barnetson, was inspired to make a drawing of a hat-sporting President Mitterrand in homage to the book. We watched, along with Antoine Laurain, via Twitter, with delight.
Fast-forward to this year and the release of Antoine’s latest, The Red Notebook. This time Annie drew an Antoine-inspired Laurent, one of the book’s two main characters, and himself a bookseller, who stumbles upon an abandoned handbag (containing a red notebook filled with thoughts and jottings) and feels impelled to return it to its owner.
We were so impressed, we asked Annie if she would make us a drawing. She very kindly agreed. The package arrived via air mail last week, covered in colourful stamps.
We’ll display this wonderful picture with pride in our office, and every time we look at it we’ll be reminded how great literature travels.
And the story ends back at the beginning. A post on Hungerford Bookshop’s Facebook page from 6 April from a bookseller who has just had a recommendation from a customer … The Red Notebook.