Yesterday my book about French women Two Lipsticks and a Lover came out in France. Here it is called So Chic! and they have translated the UK title and made it a sub-title. Some of you may remember the scary meeting I had with the foremost book publicist in Paris who told me if I didn’t improve my French this week of interviews would be a disaster.
I kept my side of the bargain. Every day I called my long-suffering friend Jacques and spoke to him in French for around 15 minutes. My husband had to leave the house while this was going on. “I’m pleased you’re doing it,” he would say, heading for the door. “I just don’t want to hear it.”
I read Elle, Marie-Claire, Paris-Match; I watched French television. Even my neighbour noticed my French has got better. I imagined wafting around Paris this week, my publicity team in tow, gracing various TV channels with interviews and using the subjunctive like normal mortals use the present tense.
I am not at all chuffed to report that rather than Paris I am in my armchair with Max the cat sitting on my keyboard while Olivia (off sick from school) coughs next to me. To cheer myself up I look at amazon.fr to catch a glimpse of my newly-published book. It is very exciting to be published in the same language as Flaubert and Proust. Granted their books were a lot longer and possibly less superficial than mine, although I’m sure if Flaubert had got on to matching underwear he’d have written about it.
On amazon.fr there is no cover image of my book and my rating is far, far worse than To Hell in High Heels on amazon.co.uk which isn’t even published yet.
The French public is clearly not interested in my opinion of French women. Apart from one lone presenter that is who has a show on the radio statrion France Inter called 5/7. He interviewed me for his show and promised me a 10-minute slot. I though the name was rather promising, cinq a sept and all that. Until he told me it in fact goes out between five and seven in the morning.
So good work Madame Publicist – I am big among French lorry drivers…..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008