Gros Bonnets

I have just finished my new novel. As I intimated in an earlier blog (The Exterminating Angel, 7 Nov 2019) the main theme of the novel is entrapment. Its title shall be The Spaceman. No, it is not science fiction. But yes, I own it has elements of fantasy. The Space I envisage is an earthbound one, a prescribed patch of turf in which a man finds himself trapped. Ergo, this trapped man is the Spaceman.

Now that my latest opus is finished, I must endure the tedious business of getting it edited and published. This is mostly a non-creative activity. But it is a necessary one if I want people to read my work. And I do want people to read it, because I believe it has interesting, perhaps even fascinating, things to say relevant to our contemporary lives .

Another task that looms is choosing a cover. I have two main ideas for this. One of them is the above print by prolific 19th century French caricaturist, Edmond Lavrate, which features in the novel. Entrapment may be the main theme of my novel, but there are secondary themes also. One such theme relates to the wearing of hats, and what that can signify. Hence Les Gros Bonnets du Village.

I would very much like to own a copy of this print by Lavrate. The trouble is that, though I have searched extensively on the internet, I can’t find it anywhere. If any of you good folk out there are able to help me out in this regard, I would appreciate it so much.

So how do I know the print exists? Because, back in April 2019, I saw it. In one of the least likely places you might expect. And I photographed it.

I saw it in Sendai, Japan, in the Hotel Monterey, which is where I was staying. The hotel has made itself out in late 19th C European decor with Lavrate prints slathering the walls of its corridors. Gros Bonnets was just one of many by Lavrate.

And this in Japan of all places.

I think I have said before in one of my blogs that, in Japan, there is a surprise round every corner. The Hotel Monterey, not an expensive hotel by Japanese standards, is one such surprise. I’d love to get back there sometime but, given Covid, this won’t be happening anytime soon.

At least I have the photograph, which I have touched up a little, using basic packages available on the internet. It still has an intrusive line taking a slice out of the top left hand corner. With this removed, I believe it would be suitable for a book cover.

But I’d still like to have my own print in my hot little hand. If any of you can help me out in this respect – with this specific print only please! – I’d appreciate a line from you on

It is not set in stone that I shall use Gros Bonnets for my book cover. And in any case, the publisher – should one eventuate – might want a say in the matter. There is one other idea I have, and this one relates directly to my main theme of entrapment. It comes not from Japan, but from the Cook Islands, a place I have never visited.

I shall save discussion of this alternative idea for my next blog.