It's today! We're finally having our conversation about The President's Hat over at Sunny Sweet Pea, where Jenny will be hosting. Bring your own tea/ cake/ wine/ gin, if you so wish, but make sure you head over and have a natter. And if you're reading this after 17th October, don't worry- there's no time limit on the chat, so feel free to jump in and share your thoughts whenever you get the chance. The post hosting the discussion is here.
I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on The President's Hat here first though- but of course, I'll be popping over to join the chat on Jenny's blog later when I get a chance!
If you haven't read the book, The President's Hat is the story of a hat belonging to Francois Mitterrand, the president of France from 1981-1995. This hat seems to instill in its wearers a sense of confidence, security, and generally gives them a little bit of a kick up the bum. I really liked this, actually- I think we've all experienced that thing where you put on an item of clothing and instantly feel a bit different? Fanny Marquant, the second recipient of the hat, certainly knows this- "All she had to do was put on the YSL skirt and she immediately felt more attractive" (for me it's a black wrap dress that instantly makes me feel like a grown up at work).
I really liked the way the book moved from character to character, and almost gave the impression of several short stories all linked together by a common theme. I was actually quite surprised to like this style, as I'm not the biggest fan of short stories or tenuous links- but I think Antoine Laurain did this very well, actually. I also really liked the discussion of Mitterand's/ French politics, as this is something I've studied before- however, I imagine this would actually turn some others off! I also really liked the ending of the book- but I won't give that away for those of you who are yet to read/ finish it.
One of my favourite moments was when Daniel first realised he's sitting next to Mitterrand, and realises how easily it could not have happened, with the line- "The important events in our lives are always the result of a sequence of tiny details". This is so true, don't you think!?
There were a couple of things I didn't like so much about the book though- I did feel that on occasion it was a little too descriptive, for example with the mention of the designers of Fanny Marquant's clothes. Additionally, I never found it difficult to put the book down- I actually had to rush the last little bit in order to get it finished by today, so clearly this didn't suck me in completely. And also- if Pierre Aslan checked his hat into the cloakroom at a restaurant- why didn't Mitterand in the first chapter!?
If you've read the book and are keen to share your thoughts, please head over to Jenny's blog and get involved- I'm so excited to see what everyone thought of this one! And if you missed it this time, don't worry- we're sure to choose another book soon, so definitely keep your eyes peeled. Suggestions for our next book are welcome on the back of a postcard/ in a message in a bottle/ in the comments below!