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Alain Elkann’s The French Father is an imagined confrontation between haughty Bourgeoisie and passionate Art – the former represented by Jean-Paul Elkann (once the director of Dior) the latter by the Surrealist Roland Topor
The French Father centres on a dialogue between two men buried alongside each other in the Parisian cemetery of Montparnasse now companions in the afterlife. One man, the author’s father, is strict, upper middle class, and a firm believer in the values and principles of the grande bourgeoisie. The other is the artist Roland Topor, screenwriter of Polanski’s The Tenant unconventional, exuberant and creative.
Elkann finds harmony in the clashing proximity of his stern father and the unruly artist. What might have been a story of grief becomes one of peaceful vitality united through a shared inheritance and faith.
Alain Elkann’s The French Father is translated from the Italian by Alastair McEwen and published by Pushkin Press
Alain Elkann was born in New York in 1950. An award-winning novelist, essayist and journalist, he has published over twenty books and is a regular contributor to various Italian newspapers and magazines