Froth on the Daydream
First English-language edition cover
|Original title||L'Écume des jours|
Published in English
Froth on the Daydream (French: L'Écume des jours) is a 1947 novel by the French author Boris Vian. It tells the story of a man who marries a woman, who develops an illness that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers. The book has been translated three times into English, under different titles. Stanley Chapman's translation was titled Froth on the Daydream; Brian Harper's was titled Foam of the Daze (TamTam Books). The book has been the basis for three feature films and an opera.
Colin is a wealthy young man with a resourceful and stylish man-servant, Nicolas, as well as a fantastic olfactory-musical invention: the pianocktail. With dizzying speed, Colin meets and weds Chloé in a grand ceremony. Generously, Colin bequeaths a quarter of his fortune to his friends Chick and Alise so they too may marry.
Happiness should await both couples but Chloé falls ill upon her honeymoon with a water lily in the lung, a painful and rare condition that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers. The expense is prohibitive and Colin soon exhausts his funds. Meanwhile, Chick's obsession with the philosopher, Jean-Sol Partre, causes him to spend all his money, effort and attention upon collecting Partre's literature. Alise hopes to save Chick financially and renew his interest in her by persuading Partre to stop publishing books. She kills him when he refuses and seeks revenge upon the booksellers. Colin struggles to provide flowers for Chloé to no avail and his grief at her death is so strong his pet mouse commits suicide to escape the gloom.
Jean-Sol Partre is a spoonerism of the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's name. Throughout the novel, there are references to various works by Sartre, but like the philosopher's name, Vian plays with words to make new titles for these works by "Partre". Sometimes he uses a synonym, such as Le Vomi (Sartre's original, La Nausée), and sometimes he uses a homonym, such as La Lettre et le Néon (The Letter and Neon), a pun on L'Être et le Néant (Being and Nothingness).
- Froth on the Daydream was made into a French film released in 1968, with the English title Spray of the Days. Directed by Charles Belmont, it stars Jacques Perrin, Marie-France Pisier, Sami Frey, Alexandra Stewart, Annie Buron, and Bernard Fresson.
- It was made into an opera under the same title by the Russian composer Edison Denisov in 1981.
- It was adapted as a 2001 Japanese film with the English title Chloe. Directed by Go Riju, it stars Nagase Masatoshi with cinematography by Shinoda Noboru. It was selected for competition at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival.
- Michel Gondry directed a new adaptation of the novel, with the English title Mood Indigo, starring Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris, which was released on 24 April 2013.
- "L'Ecume Des Jours (1968)". NYTimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Stratton, David (2001-02-13). "Chloe". Variety. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Lemercier, Fabien (2012-04-10). "Cameras rolling on Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo". cineuropa.org. Cineuropa. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- IMDB (2013-03-14). "Mood Indigo (2013)". IMDB. Retrieved 2013-03-14.