A beautiful French novel exploring the difficult subject of mental illness. Written to the soundtrack of Nina Simone singing Mr. Bojangles, this is a magical love story. A young boy tells the story of watching his parents dance their way through life even as his mother descends into madness. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. An international bestseller.
An “oddball fairy tale” (The New York Times)—shortlisted for one of France’s highest literary prizes—a dark, funny, and wholly charming novel about a young boy and his eccentric family, who grapple with the realities of mental illness in unique and whimsical ways.
A young boy lives with his madcap parents, Louise and George, and an exotic bird in a Parisian apartment, where the unopened mail rises in a tower by the door and his parents dance each night to Nina Simone’s mellifluous classic “Mister Bojangles.” As his mother, mesmerizing and unpredictable, descends deeper into her own mind, it is up to the boy and his father to keep her safe—and, when that fails, happy. Fleeing Paris for a country home in Spain, they come to understand that some of the most radiant people bear the heaviest burdens.
Told from the perspective of a young boy who idolizes his parents—and from George’s journals, detailing his epic love story with his wife—Waiting for Bojangles is a “lighthearted and yet sorrowful tale” (San Francisco Chronicle) that will stay with you long after the final page.
About the Author
Olivier Bourdeaut is a writer living in France. Waiting for Bojangles is his first novel.
“[An] oddball fairy tale… This strange little book lingers in the mind.” — The New York Times
“Spirited and graciously zany, Waiting for Bojangles is a passionate love story told through the eyes of a child.” — France-Amérique
“The novel is written in partial rhyme… [and] the singsong prose adds to the madcap nature of this lighthearted and yet sorrowful tale.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“This fanciful love story, fraught with sadness, is a sweet meditation on the more unorthodox gifts that parents leave the children they cherish.” — Publishers Weekly
“A charming tale that revels in colorful detail and language and a heart-rending depiction of the brutal march of mental illness… A unique, evocative debut.” — Kirkus Reviews
“At once delightfully whimsical and hugely touching.” — Library Journal
“A very well written story, with a touch of craziness, an awesome rhythm and a libertine use of words. I loved the book, I loved the subject. A wonderful mix of reality and invention. What a terrific book.” — Jornal de Negócios (Portugal)
“Bourdeaut tells the story with incredible ease, without falling into the ‘feel good’ trap.” — SVT (Sweden)
“A worthy heir of a tradition that includes authors such as Queneau, Prévert and Romain Gary.” — La Republica (Italy)
“In this novel, fantasy reigns supreme. The author plunges us into a delightful, joyful, and witty mess.” — Elle (France)
“Waiting for Bojangles reads like the love between the family: delightful and overwhelming.” — El Correo (Spain)
“This smart and memorable novel about a special family tells a universal story sure to leave an impact on the reader.” — Vatan (Turkey)
“The author succeeds in capturing the reader with this inspirational and humorous narrative. The poetry is overflowing at every moment.” — Culture Now (Greece)
“Alternately delightful and melancholic.” — Booklist, starred review
"A lovely, whimsical and tragic tale." — Coachella Valley Weekly