You never forget the first time Cary Grant charms the socks off you. From Arsenic and Old Lace (man, I love that wacky film) to North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief, Grant enchants anyone in his path. Charm itself is impossible to teach and intolerably elusive to those that don’t have it. But Grant has this enviable trait in spades and I defy anyone not to be enraptured.
So I returned to Grant’s literary equivalent, Antoine Laurain, in the secure hope of a mesmerising few hours. He didn’t let me down. While The Red Notebook is slightly more predictable that his seminal The President’s Hat, it is still beguiling and blissful.
Laurain opens his text with a quote by French philosopher Émile-Auguste Chartier “there is little but the sublime to help us through ordinary in life”. With poignant depth the enigmatic tale unfolds. Part personal detective story, part mystery and part Parisian cultural exploration, Laurain once again proves that a little French charm always goes a long way.
Given recent events across the French capital, it is impossible to deny the uplifting communal benefits of a little Franco whimsy.