A Novel Idea – 18.30h, Tuesday 1st March

Our ‘A Novel Idea’ Book Club read and review will be‘‘Portraits of France” by Robert Daley on the 1st March. Please join us on ZOOM.

Freely mixing travelogue, history and offhand cultural commentary, Daley’s serendipitous journey appraises France’s soul. Whether he is expressing consternation at Avignon’s immense Palace of the Popes, monument to medieval extravagance, or tracking the legend of bike racer Jacques Anquetil, Daley has a knack for the telling detail, the unusual observation.

A few of these 19 vignettes delve into little-known events, like the building of French concentration camps in the Pyrenees during WW II. Among the indelible portraits we find those of French soldier- politican-aristocrat Lafayette, Grace Kelly, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett (inventor of the “fabulous Riviera” mystique) and De Gaulle, an obscure brigadier general in 1940 worried mainly about his wife and retarded daughter.

Other pieces deal with Lourdes, Bordeaux, a perfume factory in Grasse, Jules Massenet writing operas in Paris and the Sansons family, which operated the guillotine through six generations.

We always have interesting discussions about the historical setting of each book and its success in TV, Cinema etc. Feel free to join and listen even if you haven’t read the book.

The zoom link will be sent out by Henley on the day. 

All are welcome – you do not even need to have read the book! The discussions range far and wide and are not just only about the contents of the book. If you would like to receive the monthly zoom link and join in then please contact Henley by email here