A Year in the Merde

A Year in the Merde

Unknown - 2005
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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.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed by Holtzbrinck, 2005, c2004.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781582345918
1582345910
Branch Call Number: CLARKE S
Characteristics: 276 p. ; 22 cm.

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Margush
Apr 15, 2016

Those people who've ever worked with French, will find this book relevant to their experience. They do take their life easy and they do have quite unique office and work culture. As for the book, I found it very well written (which I always appreciate), witty and entertaining. I agree that there might be too much focus on sex life (hard to imagine how the guy found any time in his schedule to do the actual work), but I'd still recommend anyone to read it at least once.

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