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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany

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I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany Cover

ISBN13: 9781416586876
ISBN10: 1416586873
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Tired of Provence in books, cuisine, and tablecloths? Exhausted from your armchair travels to Paris? Despairing of ever finding a place that speaks to you beyond reason? You are ripe for a journey to Brittany, where author Mark Greenside reluctantly travels, eats of the crand#234;pes, and finds a second life. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; When Mark Greenside — a native New Yorker living in California, doubting (not-as-trusting-as Thomas, downwardly mobile, political lefty, writer, and lifelong skeptic — is dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finistand#232;re, "the end of the world," his life begins to change. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; In a playful, headlong style, and with enormous affection for the Bretons, Greenside tells how he makes a life for himself in a country where he doesn't speak the language or know how things are done. Against his personal inclinations and better judgments, he places his trust in the villagers he encounters — neighbors, workers, acquaintances — and is consistently won over and surprised as he manages and survives day-to-day trials: from opening a bank account and buying a house to removing a beehive from the chimney — in other words, learning the cultural ropes, living with neighbors, and making new friends. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;iandgt;I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do)andlt;/iandgt; is a beginning and a homecoming for Greenside, as his father's family emigrated from France. It is a memoir about fitting in, not standing out; being part of something larger, not being separate from it; following, not leading. It explores the joys and adventures of living a double life.

Review:

"In 1991, Greenside, a teacher and political activist living in Alameda, Calif., found himself at both the end of a relationship and 'the end of the world.' The French world, that is: Finistre, a remote town on the coast of Brittany, where he and his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend spend 10 weeks. Preternaturally slow to negotiate the ways of life in a small Breton village, he gets help from Madame P., his slow-to-melt landlady and neighbor. At summer's end (as well as the end of his relationship), his attachment to France became more permanent through the quasi-impulsive purchase of an old stone house, which was made possible with the help of Madame P. She figures prominently and entertainingly through the rest of the book, facilitating several of the author's transactions with the sellers and the local servicemen who provide necessities such as heating oil and insurance. At times the author's self-deprecation comes across as disingenuous, but his self-characterization as a helpless, 40-something leftist creates an intriguing subtext about baby boomerism, generational maturity and the relationship of America to France. Greenside tells a charming story about growing wiser, humbler and more human through home owning in a foreign land." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

For many Americans, France is the go-to country for culture. We revere French gastronomy, style, painting, literature. Oh, the chevre! The mille-feuille and the tarte tatin! Madame Bovary and the Eiffel Tower! The way the Parisiennes fling their scarves so artfully around their perfect necks!

Some francophiles are so besotted that they end up moving to "la Hexagone," as the French... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Book News Annotation:

Greenside, a writer and teacher, tells the story of his experience in a small village Brittany, France, after his then girlfriend convinced him spend a summer there. Although he doesn't speak French, he stayed there and ended up loving the village, which became his second home. Here, he recounts the culture, food, and people, as well as his daily life, cultural differences, and anecdotes, as he learns to love this unfamiliar life and culture. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Humorous and charming, Greenside's tale recounts how his reluctant visit to Brittany turns into a semi-permanent stay and second life. 16 b&w drawings throughout.

Video

About the Author

Mark Greenside is the author of the short story collection I Saw a Man Hit His Wife. His stories have also appeared in several magazines, including The Sun, The Literary Review, and Cimarron Review. Greenside lives in Alameda, California, where he teaches and ispolitically active, as well as in Brittany, France, where, he says, he still can't do anything without asking for help.

Table of Contents

I

Getting There
There
Market Day
Pardon Moi
Fête Nautique
Buying a House

II

The Oil Guys
The Floor Guy
The Insurance Guy
Martin and Jean

III

A Day in the Life
The New Yorker in Me
Île Callot
The Police
Bon Anniversaire to Me
Two Loves, Two Lives

Acknowledgments

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Carolina Juarez, April 23, 2009 (view all comments by Carolina Juarez)
I've known Mark for over a quarter century, visited his lovely home in Brittany where I delighted in meeting Madame at his 50th birthday celebration, enjoyed watching the developing relationship with his now wife, Donna, and finally am thrilled to see that my buddy, with all his talk and fun filled friendships, CAN REALLY WRITE being true to himself and his Small Village. His book is like him, funny, honest, and endearing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
takingadayoff, January 10, 2009 (view all comments by takingadayoff)
Another Yank (or Brit or Aussie) moves to France and is bowled over by the French-ness of it all?! Yes! And this one works. No, he never becomes French, but he finds that France softens his rough edges a bit and the process is a fun read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416586876
Author:
Greenside, Mark
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
Country life
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Americans - France - Brittany
Subject:
Country life - France - Brittany
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20081131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 bandamp;w line drawings t-o
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 12.635 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Travel » Europe » France
Travel » Travel Writing » France

I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Free Press - English 9781416586876 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1991, Greenside, a teacher and political activist living in Alameda, Calif., found himself at both the end of a relationship and 'the end of the world.' The French world, that is: Finistre, a remote town on the coast of Brittany, where he and his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend spend 10 weeks. Preternaturally slow to negotiate the ways of life in a small Breton village, he gets help from Madame P., his slow-to-melt landlady and neighbor. At summer's end (as well as the end of his relationship), his attachment to France became more permanent through the quasi-impulsive purchase of an old stone house, which was made possible with the help of Madame P. She figures prominently and entertainingly through the rest of the book, facilitating several of the author's transactions with the sellers and the local servicemen who provide necessities such as heating oil and insurance. At times the author's self-deprecation comes across as disingenuous, but his self-characterization as a helpless, 40-something leftist creates an intriguing subtext about baby boomerism, generational maturity and the relationship of America to France. Greenside tells a charming story about growing wiser, humbler and more human through home owning in a foreign land." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Humorous and charming, Greenside's tale recounts how his reluctant visit to Brittany turns into a semi-permanent stay and second life. 16 b&w drawings throughout.
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