: A year in the merde (9781582345918) : Stephen Clarke : Books
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A Year In The Merde

by Stephen Clarke
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publishing date: 09/05/2005
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781582345918
  • ISBN: 1582345910


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 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", the book is narrated by Paul West, a twenty-seven-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British "tea rooms." He must manage of a group of lazy, grumbling French employees, maneuver around a treacherous Parisian boss, while lucking into a succession of lusty girlfriends (one of whom happens to be the boss's morally challenged daughter). 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, and they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language. The book will also tell you 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. With translation rights now sold in eleven countries and already a bestseller in the UK and France, 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.

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  • Merde! This Book is Funny!
    From Amazon

    A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke is an uproarious roman à clef following a year in the life of Clarke's alter ego, Paul West. Paul West is a Brit who has been transplanted to the City of Light to help a French businessman open English tea shops throughout Paris. Paul's struggles to understand and master all things French, including the French work ethic of his colleagues (which places more importance on vacation planning than on anything truly work related); the confusing manner in which the real estate market operates; and the most perplexing thing about France - French women, will have you laughing throughout the entire book.

    Besides being a humorous account of French assimilation, A Year in the Merde is also an insightful look at how the French view British and American citizens. Clarke is especially discerning when recounting the start of the American led Iraq war.

    As the inside flap of the book says, "This book is for everyone who can never quite decide whether they love - or love to hate - the French".

  • Je l'aime!
    From Amazon

    I love every one of Stephen Clarke's books. I have never laughed so hard reading. Looking forward to getting his newest. I wish these books would also go to the big screen. Hugh Grant?

  • Loads of It
    From Amazon

    This is loads of fun, I'll grant you. I happen to love British wit, so what could beat an English author griping about his time among the frogs? The French do not come off well. Curiously, I had never seen this side of them. Clarke essentially captures a petty, almost tribal narrowness which I had never before associated with the French, but rings absolutely right. Especially when the French girlfriend calls things off over politics - this is so American radicals of the 60s, and it is totally believable as a French pose of self-importance. The nonsense over the tea shops is silly but very revealing, too. Anyway, the memoir is amusing if finally a bit tiresome. Actually, the entire premise of his stay seemed weird and somehow bogus. The graphic romance seems a little adolescent to me - maybe the author has something to prove. Although the French gals do come across as totally lacking in Anglo-American primness. His shock is fun, but so is his unabashed joy in finding such easy women. This is a real case of so close but so far. Highly recommended.

  • Some insights, some spleen
    From Amazon

    Clarke's main character, Paul West, enters French society with an eye for detail but also a chip on his shoulder. The sort of silly good luck that befalls him makes the book an interesting exercise in wishful thinking that is a bit of a disconnect with the pull-no-punches reality with which French society is portrayed. The odd juxtaposition was, unfortunately, the most lasting impression I was left with afterward.

  • A Year in the Merde
    From Amazon

    The central character 'Paul West' has been headhunted by a company in Paris - his mission - to market and oversee the development of a chain of English Tea Houses. Little did he know that the 'City of Love' (in it's own unique way) was expecting him. Like countless thousands who came before him, Paul encountered the frustrations of french culture.

    An hilarious romp. Stephen Clarke writes in a smooth and entertaining way transporting us to a place deep in the heart of Paris. There is something here for everyone including romance, deception, espionage, and lots of 'merde'.

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