Starting the New Year is always a little tough. One is overwhelmed by all the emotions (or lack of them) generated by Xmas with the family and also disgusted by all the food that has been ingurgited over the holidays. I nonetheless immensely enjoyed my lunch with former boss at the radio Jean Lebrun who has been on air evey day of his life in the last 32 years. His broadcast on France Inter radio station (a French public radio) runs at 1.30 which means that lunch is well deserved at 2.15pm. He has his habits in a very classical French delicious bistro, Chaumette, near the radio, where we had duck and purée with a strong Côtes du Rhone to fight the cold. And we discussed biographies.
Jean is the author of the most original biography I have read this year and it won the Goncourt Prize for biography, last May. It is called « Notre Chanel », another book on Coco you will say… Well not exactly. It‘s a book on the houses and the villages and the friends and family in the houses that Chanel used to entertain and most often support. Jean started the research with his then companion Bernard and went on writing it for 19 years after he died of aids. The book intertwines, in a very subtle and interesting way, what could be a futile story of the fashion queen and his own personal tragedy including visiting Boris Kochno at the end of his life and getting to know all the villagers and modest neighbours of the great fashion designer. The charm of the book resides in the constant surprises that await the reader at each page. It is not translated yet but do get it if you read French! (Editions Bleu Autour)
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