Arrested for snorting cocaine off a car bonnet, award-winning author and quintessential dilettante Frederic Beigbeder reflects on his troubled childhood, while spending a night in police custody. Confined to a cell, Frederic Beigbeder's seeks escape in his childhood memories, only to discover he can recall just one. From this, he reconstructs both his past and that of his family; the glamour of Sixties Paris and his father's playboy life in New York, so distinct from the experiences of his soldier grandfather, whose lifespan Frederic has now exceeded. His arrest all over the tabloids, Frederic wonders if the time has come to grow up. `A French Novel' is a belated coming-of-age tale, profoundly tender and charmingly ironic.