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Dawn Dusk or Night: A Year with Nicolas Sarkozy [Hardcover]

Yasmina Reza

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Book Description

April 22 2008
An enormous success in France and a media sensation around the world, Yasmina Reza’s Dawn, Dusk or Night will startle English-language readers with its utterly unorthodox (and candid and witty) portrait of a man in his quest for ultimate power. In 2006, Yasmina Reza, the most celebrated playwright in France, asked Nicolas Sarkozy a simple question: Would he allow her to spend the next year with him and his team as he campaigned for the French presidency? His response was an unqualified yes. To the alarm of his advisers, and the consternation of many of her friends, who feared she was making a pact with the devil, she picked up her notebook and her pencil, and off she went.

It is not enough to say that she was an observer of Sarkozy’s rise to power. Rather, hers is the account of a brilliant woman of letters dancing in orbit with the most powerful man in France. Their casual exchanges, her remarkable insights, their phenomenal experience exist as a play of words and glances, framed as scenes from a headlong drama. Through the greenrooms, bus rides, and flights, along the campaign trail; in strategy sessions and at meetings with heads of state;, in all hours of the day and night, they develop a relationship that knows no parallel, bridging the arts and politics, abiding within a purely intellectual sphere without judgment, conflict, or competition.

The groundbreaking Dawn, Dusk or Night defies genre to offer a spellbinding look at the interplay between two formidable champions bound by intellect and nation.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (April 22 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307269213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307269218
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,758,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“[Reza is] a splendid observer-nothing gets by her.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Quite possibly the most innovative and startling report on a political campaign ever written.”
Los Angeles Times

“Brilliantly evocative. . . . captivating. . . . A contemplation of a man struggling with the evanescence of time. This is the campaign trail as we have never seen it before.”
Times Literary Supplement

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Yasmina Reza is a playwright and novelist whose plays Art, Life x 3, The Unexpected Man, and Conversations After a Burial have all been multi-award-winning critical and popular international successes, translated into more than thirty languages. She lives in Paris.

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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sui Generis May 28 2008
By David Keymer - Published on Amazon.com
What a brilliant idea this was! Take Yasmina Reza (`Art'), the best-known playwright in France today, and have her shadow the country's rising political star, Nicolas Sarkozy, in his bid -ultimately successful--for the presidency. The result is not political reporting but a stunningly brilliant portrait of a type of man, homo politicus, as represented by one of its most appealing exemplars. Sarkozy is perpetually in motion, reinventing himself against the backdrop of hangers on and electorate. From their first meeting, she notes Sarkozy's impatience, his thirst for praise (`still waiting, like a child, for the umpteenth approval'). "I feel like I'm watching a little boy," she writes. He can't stand being alone, he sabotages conversations that don't involve him, shuns solitude. He comes alive around people, needs audiences to think and live. Reza's glittering prose show us glimpses of a man whose goal seems to be to outrun his own image in the mirror but who also happens to be one of the most important political figures of our age. Compulsively readable, this book deserves the widest audience. Sarkozy is charming, relentlessly ambitious, unable to sit still, and totally self-absorbed, a man in search of a mirror. But when he finds one, he finds there's still something missing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeply personal view on spending "A Year With Nicolas Sarkozy" July 17 2008
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Well-known French author and playright Yasmina Reza pitched an unusual idea to presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in the Spring of 2007: to be able to follow up around, unrestricted, for a year and write about it. Much to her surprise, Sarkozy immediately said yes. This book is what came of that.

"Dawn Dusk or Night: A Year with Nicolas Sarlozy" (190 pages) is a deeply personal, subjective, and quite unusual (as one might expect from someone like that) account of the year Reza spent with Sarkozy. It is a mostly unflattering view of Sarkozy. "Often he says, How you doing' Yasmina? But that means, how is he doing?" Or this, when she's talking on a campaign stop with someone else: "Infuriated by his nonexistence, he butts into the conversation to immediately change its direction." On politicians: "Forgetting oneself is not what they are living. They are forgetting others; they are, inevitably, self-obsessed". After Sarkozy wins the election and invites Reza over the the Elysee, she tells Sarkozy "I wanted to ask you something. Yes? I wanted to grant me something what you never have. What? A real conversation."

This book caused a huge stir when it came out in France last Fall, for obvious reasons. I'm not sure what Sarkozy was thinking when he agreed to the author's pitch, as it was pretty obvious what the outcome would be. I really enjoyed this book, even if it is, at times, a quirky read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Departure From a Typical Political Diary Sept. 7 2008
By M. Maynard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You will either love or hate Yasmina Reza's style of writing. It is spare, thought-provoking, and at times, painfully accurate. This is not a ponderous journalistic campaign diary; it is more like snapshots. Dawn Dusk or Night captures the complicated Nicolas Sarkozy in far fewer words, and in far more memorable ways, than the dozens of other books that have been written about him. He comes off as both visionary and vain, as human and detached. Although Carla Bruni is not a character in this book, it is easy to see why Sarkozy would have experienced a coup de foudre when they met. The only drawback to the English version is a somewhat clunky translation; some points undoubtedly were made better in French. But for students of French politics and writing alike, it is a must read.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing July 2 2013
By Pilgrim - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The book rambles incoherently. The main impression I took away was not of Sarkozy, but of Reza's infatuation with him.
2.0 out of 5 stars nicolas sarkozy June 16 2012
By amazonite - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
there was some insight in this book to the character of mr sarkozy, former french president. but often it was hard to tell with her writing style whom she was she was referring to. i suppose i just didn't care for the way she was wtriting.

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