Take a good look at this book because I think it says a lot about the region I live in. The book is called Perrillat: a Savoyard name (14th-21st Centuries) — origins, family history, emigration. That’s right: the Perrillat family has been traced back to the 14th Century and this book, written by a more recent Perrillat, includes photos, excerpts of letters and other evidence of the family name’s impression on the area.
Indeed, I’ve seen the name everywhere: at construction sites, on fuel trucks, on shops, on farms, and on everything in between. It’s one of a handful of super-large families in the region that are so big that they don’t know some of their own family members. For example, one of my friends rented an apartment off some Perrillats last season. They invited me in for coffee (jaw droppingly rare for such a local family to be kind to such a non-local girl who can barely speak the same language as them), and I mentioned that I knew one of their family members — a ski instructor with the same surname. They asked who, and when I told them his name, they shrugged and said casually that it’s a big family.
As you might remember from a previous blog entry, it apparently takes three generations of family to be buried here before someone is considered a local in La Clusaz. The existence of this book comes as no huge surprise. Where else in the world would you find a book available in bookshops that focuses entirely on a local name? How many people would buy such a book to make it worthwhile? Who is the book of interest to? I guess if just half of the existing Perrillats bought the book, it would probably pay for itself, and any sales on top of that are a bonus!