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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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10 Local Warehouse Travel Writing- France

A Year in the Merde

by

A Year in the Merde Cover

ISBN13: 9781582346175
ISBN10: 1582346178
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An urban antidote to A Year in Provence, Stephen Clarke's book is a laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris — for Francophiles and Francophobes alike.

A Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author's adventures as an expat in Paris. Based loosely on his own experiences and with names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action and to prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit (or quite possibly, a Christian Dior skirt)." A A Year in the Merde is the story of a Paul West, a 27-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British "tea rooms." He soon becomes immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly cheese; they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language, while going on strike is the second national participation sport after pétanque. He also illuminates how to get the best out of the grumpiest Parisian waiter, how to survive a French business meeting, and how not to buy a house in the French countryside.

The author originally wrote A Year in the Merde just for fun and self-published it in France in an English language edition. Weeks later, it had become a word-of-mouth hit for expats and the French alike, even outselling Bill Clinton's memoir at Paris's fabled American bookstore Brentano's. With translation rights now sold in eleven countries, Stephen Clarke is clearly a Bill Bryson (or a Peter Mayle) for a whole new generation of readers who can never quite decide whether they love — or love to hate — the French.

Review:

"Take a self-assured Brit with an eye for the ladies, drop him in the middle of Paris with a tenuous grasp of the language and you have Clarke's alter ego, Paul West, who combines the gaffes of Bridget Jones with the boldness of James Bond. Hired to oversee the creation of a French chain of British tearooms, Clarke, aka West, spends nine months — the equivalent of a French business year — stumbling his way through office politics la franaise. Clarke's sharp eye for detail and relentless wit make even the most quotidian task seem surreal, from ordering a cup of coffee to picking up a loaf of bread at the boulangerie. Luck is by West's side as he moves into a stunning apartment (with his boss's attractive daughter), but he has to be careful where he steps, as he finds he 'began to branch out from literal to metaphorical encounters of the turd kind.' Between conspiring colleagues, numerous sexual escapades (he deems French porn 'unsexy' since 'Being French, they had to talk endlessly before they got down to action') and simply trying to order a normal-sized glass of beer, West quickly learns essential tricks to help him keep his head above the Seine. Originally self-published in Paris, Clarke's first book in a soon-to-be-series is funny and well-written enough to appeal to an audience beyond just Francophiles. Agent, Susanna Lea at Susanna Lea Associates. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A #1 bestseller in the United Kingdom and an urban antidote to A Year in Provence, this laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris is the almost-true story of the author's own experiences.

Synopsis:

Based on Stephen Clarke's own experiences and with names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action, and to prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit," A Year in the Merde provides perfect entertainment for Francophiles and Francophobes alike.

About the Author

Stephen Clarke is a British writer working for a French press group in Paris. He has previously written comedy for BBC Radio. He is currently working on the next volume of Paul West's adventures.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

skihase, November 7, 2010 (view all comments by skihase)
I loved reading this book. The style of writing is understandable for persons who learn English as a second language. The plot of the book is very interesting and fascinating.

Set mainly in Paris, France, the story is about a young Englishman who comes for working there for one year and finding out if the women really wear that great underwear like his friend told him. For every month there is one chapter. During his stay he experiences the French, their culture and their way of life. At the beginning he feels like being in another world, far away from his imaginations of France. Right and wrong, truth and fraud appear constantly.

Paul West arrives in September in Paris. He has to set up English tea rooms in France. The work is difficult because his team doesn´t want to work the way he wants. Finally the project is broken down caused by the boss. The boss pretends that it would be because of the Iraq war, but in reality it is because he only wanted to use the tea rooms for his political career. So he perhaps gets a mayor. Paul gets an English teacher and later he is thrown out of his flat, owned by his boss, and wants to leave Paris. Since he has a new girlfriend after some more or less successful affairs, he decides to stay and to open his own tea room in Paris.

Paul is a young man and being the only English person in the main plot, he sometimes has to deal with French humor and attitudes. At the beginning he has difficulties with French, which is funny to read. He learns things for his live, for example not to cut salad, how to be served by an unfriendly waiter by using a secret code or that the many strikes are for nothing.

Stephen Clarke has a good writing style although it sometimes can be difficult to guess which political subject he really means. In my opinion, he wants to point out with this book, that you can only understand somebody if you put yourself in somebody’s position. You may not try to understand the French by thinking English; you have to try it as a French person and to understand the point of view of the French! But also with his extreme portrait about the French, Stephen Clarke wants to stress that the French are not like they are described in some stereotypes! I laughed a lot about how he portrays the French!

Be warned – the book is only worth reading for people who like France and laughing!

All things considered this book is a must read book!

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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582346175
Author:
Clarke, Stephen
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Humor : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.3 x 5.51 x 0.825 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Travel » Europe » France
Travel » Travel Writing » Europe
Travel » Travel Writing » France
Travel » Travel Writing » General

A Year in the Merde Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582346175 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Take a self-assured Brit with an eye for the ladies, drop him in the middle of Paris with a tenuous grasp of the language and you have Clarke's alter ego, Paul West, who combines the gaffes of Bridget Jones with the boldness of James Bond. Hired to oversee the creation of a French chain of British tearooms, Clarke, aka West, spends nine months — the equivalent of a French business year — stumbling his way through office politics la franaise. Clarke's sharp eye for detail and relentless wit make even the most quotidian task seem surreal, from ordering a cup of coffee to picking up a loaf of bread at the boulangerie. Luck is by West's side as he moves into a stunning apartment (with his boss's attractive daughter), but he has to be careful where he steps, as he finds he 'began to branch out from literal to metaphorical encounters of the turd kind.' Between conspiring colleagues, numerous sexual escapades (he deems French porn 'unsexy' since 'Being French, they had to talk endlessly before they got down to action') and simply trying to order a normal-sized glass of beer, West quickly learns essential tricks to help him keep his head above the Seine. Originally self-published in Paris, Clarke's first book in a soon-to-be-series is funny and well-written enough to appeal to an audience beyond just Francophiles. Agent, Susanna Lea at Susanna Lea Associates. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A #1 bestseller in the United Kingdom and an urban antidote to A Year in Provence, this laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris is the almost-true story of the author's own experiences.
"Synopsis" by ,
Based on Stephen Clarke's own experiences and with names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action, and to prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit," A Year in the Merde provides perfect entertainment for Francophiles and Francophobes alike.

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