A successful film consultant and screenwriter, forty-year-old Antoine travels from Paris to the Côte d'Azur in his flashy Jaguar to work on a film shoot. Filming has barely started when—without giving the matter much thought and with the sureness of someone who’s used to getting his own way—Antoine decides to write off the movie the role played by Emma, a young actress.
But Antoine wasn’t ready for Emma’s reaction: upon hearing the news, she storms onto the tennis court where he’s playing and slaps him in the face. The confrontation will mark the beginning of an unexpected, transformative journey for Antoine, as he chases the young woman across provincial France, wanting to apologize.
Emma leads Antoine into an unfamiliar and exciting world. As he becomes involved with the vicissitudes of her lively, peculiar family and with the traveling theater troupe where she works, Antoine will discover an unexpected France—full of charm, stories, and unpredictable characters—and will be inspired to change his ways and start living a different, fuller life.
Alain Gillot is an admired journalist, a screenwriter, and a comic book author. The Penalty Area is his debut novel.