A quintessential early novel about an intense friendship, by the winner of the 2020 Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle.
A Leopard-Skin Hat may be the French writer Anne Serre’s most moving novel yet. Hailed in Le Point as a “masterpiece of simplicity, emotion and elegance,” it is the story of an intense friendship between “the Narrator” and his close childhood friend, Fanny, who suffers from profound psychological disorders. A series of short scenes paints the portrait of a strong-willed and tormented young woman battling many demons, and of the narrator’s loving and anguished attachment to her. Anne Serre poignantly depicts the bewildering back and forth between hope and despair involved in such a relationship, while playfully calling into question the very form of the novel. Written in the aftermath of the death of the author’s little sister, A Leopard-Skin Hat is both the celebration of a tragically foreshortened life and a valedictory farewell, written in Anne Serre’s signature style.
“Genuinely original―and, often, very quietly so.”
― Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
― The New Yorker
“Putting down one of Anne Serre’s books is like coming up for air.”
― Lucie Elven, London Review of Books
“I love Anne Serre, translated by Mark Hutchinson, for the rippling unreality of her prose. Reading her is like watching a mirage flicker in and out of focus.”
― Merve Emre
“Readers will be moved by this probing story about the unknowability of others.”
― Publishers Weekly
“Exuberantly anti-realist and avowedly fictional…The story of Fanny and the Narrator is a story about our impulse to understand one another and about the way in which unknowability is what makes someone interesting.”
― Meghan Racklin, The Brooklyn Rail
About the Author
The author of fourteen novels and short story books, Anne Serre was born in 1960. Her work has been acclaimed here as “hypnotic, enchanting” (Publishers Weekly), “tight and fabulist” (Full Stop), and ”strange and beguiling” (Kirkus).
Among Mark Hutchinson’s many translations are René Char’s Hypnos: Notes from the French Resistance and The Inventors and Other Poems.