Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Paris book buzz

Paris is buzzing and refreshed at la Rentrée. Tons of new exhibits open this fall - the Picasso museum is re-opening after several years, la Nuit Blanche, the all night party is coming up, soon will be the Patrimony Days where historic buildings all over Paris (and Europe) will open up for one weekend a year. Mushrooms and chantrelles will be hunted in the forest.

Also buzzing are book sales. Hot off the press and climbing the bestseller list since Tuesday, is Merci Pour le Moment,  by Valérie Trierweiler, Francois Hollande's former spurned lover, who has just come out with a kiss and tell all.
For someone who has never held an official political position, Valérie
may have just played the most important move in the coming downfall of President François Hollande with her surprise, tell-all book chronicling her seven years at his side.
One critic described the book’s barbed purple prose as 'worthy of Barbara Cartland'. Others 'dirty laundry.'
However, some entrepreneurial booksellers appeared ready to use interest in the book to divert readers to other, weightier tomes. “Apologies - we don’t have Valerie Trierweiler’s book but we do still have some Balzac, Dumas, Maupassant, etc…” one sign read.
A journalist and editor of Le Monde's literary supplement, said on Twitter that the "revolt of booksellers who are saying 'no thanks' is spreading like wildfire." Here this sign says 'we're a bookstore with 11,000 books and we don't stock the garbage of Trierweiler and Hollande. Thank you for understanding.'

The 200,000 copies of Ms Trierweiler's book are reported to have sold out. More are being printed, and are expected to be on the shelves by Wednesday.
A bookseller near Paris said he expected sales to reach half a million.
He said the book was "a huge success of the kind you only see once a decade"while the book had "displeased the politicians" it sold well to "the middle classes who feel under attack by President Hollande" and have seen their taxes rise since he came to power.
Many say Hollande’s zigzagging fiscal policies and awkward political triangulations in the snakepit of his first red-green coalition Cabinet harmed him much more – as did the French economy’s persistent doldrums, rising unemployment, zero growth and overall malaise.
Not for nothing did Trierweiler live in the Elysée fishbowl for a year and a half: when she finally decided to write her book, at the beginning of the summer, she disconnected from the internet, and never sent anything by email. The manuscript was secretly printed in Germany by an independent publishing house, and Hollande only learnt of its existence last Tuesday.
On her own, the ex-First Girlfriend has managed complete secrecy and a coup — something her one-time lover has never succeeded to achieve in the two and a half years he’s been President.

Cara - Tuesday


  1. Touche! Good for Marjorie Trierweiler. A great way to get even.

    The people of France should be angry at Hollande. He has caved in to Angela Merkel's and others' demands for austerity, messing up the economy, creating more unemployment and misery.

    Who would have thought his farmer partner could be his undoing? I hope the book is worth the hoopla.

  2. You just got to love revenge served cold. I mean, GO GIRL!

    Then again it's not my ox being gored...though it sounds like something closer to home than Prez Hollande's ox is feeling the pain.

  3. I have to say, Cara, that I am much more interested in the chanterelles than in the book scandal. But then I have never understood the public's fixation on the sex lives of politicians. Of all the gazillions of practitioners of the reproductive and pleasurable art on this planet, politicians actually seem the least interesting to me. I filmed ostriches and lions mating during my recent trip to Africa. Now that was fascinating.

  4. I agree with Annamaria, why the interest in this sex scandal. For the same reason long, detailed sex scenes help sell some fiction? But it is heartening to hear that there may be an uprising against the centrality of Twitter and FB and that people might spend their time reading BOOKS! Finally, because I am not promoting my own work, I hope it is all right for me to add that lions mating play an important symbolic part in the first of Annamaria's African mystery series.

  5. Annamaria you are so French in attitude! That's what has made this book - the likes which I neglected to say has never been published during a Presidents term - such a scandal. It's so unFrench to do this. Mitterand had two families - the press and everyone knew - but it was not a subject of the press. A lot of booksellers are against it. The public too,

  6. Ah, everyone loves to see a politician get skewered (as opposed to a politician skewering... er... well, never mind).

    As for the un-French-ness of it, every culture needs a good dash of cold water (ie, introduction of memes from other cultures) now and then, just to keep the culture from becoming too inbred (whether you're French, British, Russian, Chinese, American... a dash of many herbs makes for a more tasteful soup, non?)

  7. If everyone is against it, then who purchased the 200,000 copies from the first run? And why is it being re-printed? People are buying it, just not admitting it.

    It is a "guilty pleasure" to read these revelations about politicians, and someone's personal life is not what the French are mad about. It's the economy and all the miseries therein.

    But when someone holds himself up as as some "good guy" and is knocked off his pedestal, whether by economic policies or hypocritical personal "issues," so be it.