A Leopard-Skin Hat by Anne Serre

This beautifully rendered story of a profound friendship pursued through good times and bad is a literary treasure. Populated by only two characters it is a joy to read and food for the soul. This translation is pure pleasure.

A Leopard-Skin Hat by Anne Serre, translated by Mark Hutchinson
New Directions
Paperback | $15.95
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What a lovely, unusual, charming little (120 page) book this is. It’s populated by only two people, really, the ancillary characters only mentioned briefly in passing. The Narrator, referred to by only that term, and Fanny: enigmatic, mercurial, damaged and damaging, to be pitied and reviled by turns, but always spoken of with a deep love that is patently apparent. The Narrator is clearly obsessed by this mysterious and fascinating woman, although he has a separate and profound love that does not impinge on his dedication to the subject of his obsession.


Conversational, plain-spoken but highly articulate, the text has been masterfully translated, in this reader’s uninformed and personally inexpert opinion. The flow of words is easy, swift without being rushed, and elicits a connection with the reader in which there is a recognition of truth and universal traits of humanity. It is a joy to read.


Fanny is unique. Funny, exasperating, observant, talented, she is unlike anyone else. She can wound with a look or elate with a smile. The Narrator, who has been a friend since childhood, accompanies, protects, encourages, excuses, and attempts to guide, when guidance is accepted her perpetually erratic way. The life-road provides adventure, fulfillment, pain and passion, and a continually fascinating narrative for a reader who is a lover of literature. For every sadness, there is a redeeming joy. For every roadblock there is a detour that results in a successful ending to the journey. It is virtually guaranteed that the reader will never become bored with her ever-changing moods and the Narrator’s skillful navigation of them. The author’s account of their relationship is literature in its purest form.