Arrested for snorting cocaine off a car bonnet, award-winning author and quintessential dilettante Frederic Beigbeder reflects on his troubled childhood, while spending a night in the cells.
In his most autobiographical book to date, the author of the award-winning ‘Windows on the World’ recounts his stay in police custody, when in January 2008 he was arrested for snorting cocaine outside a Paris nightclub. As he lies in his cell, he revisits his childhood, from the carefree days when his grandfather taught him to skim pebbles at the beach in Cénitz, to his parents’ divorce; the conflicting influences of his hedonistic father and his studious, seemingly conventional brother. And then Beigbeder recalls his first, unrequited loves. This patchwork of memories is as much a portrait of the era as it is the story of a fragile, self-critical man who has finally dropped the mask.
Witty, sharp, with a pitiless, self-deprecating irony, and yet tender and true, ‘A French Novel’ is a gem. Beigbeder’s search for answers in the lost country of his childhood will speak to a whole generation searching for its soul.
From the reviews of ‘A French Novel’:
‘Frédéric doesn’t just remember his childhood, he relives it in sensuous detail … though the book grows rich with Frédéric’s nostalgia and regret, it is consistently witty in tone … Beigbeder has a unique sensibility … After its cerebral beginnings ‘A French Novel’ builds to an emotionally luscious conclusion’ Evening Standard
‘Beigbeder is a wind-up merchant par excellence yet, despite his persona of a finger-stabbing pub bore, he has a fine line in self-deprecation as well as any number of caustic quips’ Metro
‘Cooler, self-mocking, but heartfelt as well as ingenious, Frédéric Beigbeder's ‘A French Novel’ sees the French enfant terrible take his brief detention after a drugs bust as the cue for a romp, both comic and melancholy, though his own career of excess consumption, and that of postwar France’ Independent, ‘Books of the Year’
About the author
Frédéric Beigbeder was born in 1965 and lives in Paris. He works as a publisher, literary critic and broadcaster.