I opened this book expecting it to be...well "merde." But surprisingly this book was hard to put down. Not only was it funny on several different levels (some stupid, some ridiculous, and some political), the plot kept me intrigued and left me wanting to read the sequel.
If you have ever traveled extensively throughout France or had the chance to live there for any amount of time like I have you will be splitting your sides over the humor Stephen Clarke brings to all the situation his main character Paul West finds himself in because it is all true and you will more than likely have experienced it yourself. This should be on the list for all students who are going to live in France. A humorous look on all real-to-life situations abroad. All and all this book was tons of fun!
This is an uproarious account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris.As he becomes immersed in the contradictions of French culture, he discovers how to get the best out of the grumpiest french waiter, and how NOT to buy a house in the French countryside!
The antidote to Peter Mayle, this is a book for everyone who loves - or loves to hate the French.
Well, I thought I was going to like this book since I was a French major and lived in France a long time ago. But I could not get through it. Maybe since the protagonist is a male in his 20s, I just couldn't relate.
Heloise reviewed A Year in the Merde (Paul West, Bk 1) on
From the book cover:
Paul West is a 27-year old Brit brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British tearooms. He struggles to adapt to French culture,such as the boss's morally challenged daughter, a group of grumbling French employees. He discovers how to get the best out of the grumpiest French waiter and how to survive a French business meeting.
This is an "urban response" to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence.
Funny stuff. Even if you don't have personal experience with the people of France you'll get a chuckle out of the challenges that Paul West encounters when hired to open a chain of British tea rooms in France. I knew I'd found a winner when I was laughing out loud over my breakfast in Perkins!
"Highly entertaining... Clarke renders the flavor of life in Paris impeccably: the endless strikes, the sadistic receptionists,the crooked schemes by which the wealthy and well-connected land low-rent apartments,etc. Clarke's eye for detail is terrific." Washington Post
Humorous account of Brit's year in France trying to open up a business as a partnership. Dry British humor, light reading; apparently especially funny if you are French and/or know the landscape, etc. Interesting insight into the French psyche. Because I missed some of the references and the phrases, I rated it only 3 1/2.