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Literature / Froth on the Daydream

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Froth on the Daydream (original title L'écume des jours, literally Foam of the days) is a 1947 novel by French author Boris Vian. It tells the story of a wealthy young man named Colin and his love for Chloe, a girl dying of a water lily in her lung. Other characters include Colin's best friend Chick, his girlfriend Alise, and Nicholas—Colin's cook and Alise's uncle.

The novel has been adapted into an opera and three feature films, the most recent being 2013's Mood Indigo by Michel Gondry, starring Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Omar Sy and Alain Chabat.


The novel and its adaptations provide examples of:

  • The Beautiful Elite: protagonist Colin qualifies at the start - he's wealthy, sophisticated and leads a worry-free lifestyle.
  • Beta Couple: Chick and Alise.
  • Betty and Veronica: Colin is initially interested in both passionate Alise (Veronica) and graceful Chloe (Betty); the dilemma is not maintained long, however, and Alise puts paid to it for good by choosing someone else.
  • Body Horror: Chloe dies from having a water lily grow in her lung.
  • Boy Meets Girl: boy dates girl, boy marries girl, boy loses girl to a mysterious disease.
  • Downer Ending: and how! Even the mouse hangs himself from despair.
  • Empathic Environment: as Chloe's health deteriorates, so does Colin's emotional state; accordingly, their house shrinks in size and gets covered in cobweb.
  • Idle Rich: Colin starts the movie this way.
  • Ill Girl: Chloe.
    • Victorian Novel Disease: a water lily in the lung, which makes her beautifully pale and languid.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jean-Sol Partre is quite obviously a stand-in for Jean-Paul Sartre, who was Boris Vian's friend in real life.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: let's just say the laws of physics are bent repeatedly.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: the mouse survives the 2013 movie.