French Mayor Questions Whether Novel Is a Work of Fiction

December 2003


Jean-Michel Couve, mayor of Saint-Tropez, is bringing a legal action against a fellow local resident and political rival, Christian Millau, claiming that he can recognise himself in Mr Millau’s novel ‘A Campaign In The Sun’. The main character in the novel, Max Farini, is re-elected mayor of a Cote D’Azur town after a hard fought local election, and is corrupt and turns a blind eye to planning regulations. Mr Couve won his last election against an opponent whose campaign was masterminded by Mr Millau by just 11 votes. But Mr Millau has been ordered to take down his 1989 residence which was built without planning regulations. The Mayor’s lawyer pointed out that other authors in France had been convicted of defamation after having ‘described reality too accurately’ in works of fiction. The defence have suggested that in admitting he recognises himself, the mayor is admitting to all of the alleged behaviour in Mr Millau’s novel.


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