Pilgrimage to Kensal Green Cemetery1 June 2023
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My new novel ‘The Reincarnation of Camille Boissier’ was a long time in the writing. It evolved from a screenplay written in French, to what has been published today. Here is a bit of the background.
After an excellent Dégustation (chef’s food selection+wines) at Aux Délices du Terroir in Criteuil-la-Magdeleine in the heart of the Charente, I returned to my chambre d’hôte. I lay on a sun lounger by the pool and fell into a deep sleep. The dream I had was vivid:
In the gardens of a burned-out Cognac chȃteau a man meets a woman. He’s a dashing French-Canadian looking at properties and she’s beautifully French. The chȃteau is where she was raised with her twin sister. She’s there to commemorate their parents who died in the fire; her sister is unable to attend.
Michel and Jeanne have a brief flirtation, but the romance goes no further because she is married, although unhappily. In the morning, he discovers she has vanished from the Hostellerie where they are both staying. He must find her.
The dream was the essence of a story, and I began writing in my bedroom at the chambre d’hôte. At mealtimes, I would discuss the plot with other guests: a family from Amsterdam; a couple from Cologne; and most importantly local French people. Everyone was keen to be involved and contributed ideas!
The key question was: Who is the man and who is the woman?
And then, bizarrely, fate intervened. On 17th May 2013, I found a discarded copy of Le Monde on the TGV from Angoulȇme to Paris. On the front page was a picture of a young actress – Marine Vacth – and the headline:
CANNES UNE ÉTOILE BRILLE AU PREMIER JOUR
It occurred to me that what if our French-Canadian, met a celebrated film star in the gardens of the chȃteau, but doesn’t know who she is? Then he finds a discarded copy of the newspaper on the TGV. And he must find her.