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A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke
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A Year in the Merde (original 2004; edition 2006)

by Stephen Clarke

Series: Merde (1), Merde

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1,491394,980 (3.3)33
Member:MillieHennessy
Title:A Year in the Merde
Authors:Stephen Clarke
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke (2004)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Cute-ish. I was actually hoping there would be lots more about actually running the tea house(s) but showing all of the problems, differences, with living in a different country was really the story and Paul West certainly seemed to run into every single one of them. A second book could be the problems of running his "own" tea house. ( )
  nyiper | Jun 24, 2014 |
I guess this book would be funnier to a Brit than to a Yank. After all, France and England have been neighbors for centuries and have rarely been able to get along. I was just glad that for once it was not an American who was the ugly tourist.

Mr. Clarke went to Paris as a young man to advise a company that wanted to create tea shops in a country of coffee drinkers. That he couldn't speak French beyond the basic greeting didn't get in the way of him deriding the French who had a better grasp of English. He had a very high opinion of his abilities in bed and in a span of less than one year, managed to leave the hotel he lived in and move into no less than 4 women's apartments, starting with his boss's daughter. Another thing that annoyed him greatly about Paris was the fact that he always found dog poop to step in and soil his shoes. The only reason I finished the book was because I hoped to find he embraced the French way of life but I was disappointed.

The fact that this man has apparently published a series of books about his exploits and experiences in Paris makes me believe that the British may never get over themselves. ( )
3 vote mamzel | Oct 20, 2013 |
Quite funny insight into the French psyche and habits from a British male perspective. Crude, light and entertaining - not much more. The subject tends to wear off towards the end of the book... It gets tiresome. Not sure if I'm tempted to read any of the sequels. ( )
  Miguelnunonave | Aug 7, 2013 |
Funny and entertaining. A good, non-serious story about a British man who is on contract in France. I still have to read the sequels, [book:Merde Actually], [book:Merde Happens], and [book:In the Merde for Love]. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
Having just returned from a vacation in Paris, I found Clarke's commentary on the French and their culture to be very accurate compared to some of my own experiences--it made the book funnier for me. I thought Paul West was a hilarious mix of snarky Brit and gentleman. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed it very much. That being said, I won't be seeking out the sequel, In the Merde for Love, because I'm satisfied with the way things worked out in the first book. While I enjoyed Paul West as a character, he didn't generate a desire in me to know "what happens next." I would read more of Clarke's work though, just not this particular series. I am happy having read this as a stand-alone novel. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Feb 21, 2013 |
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The author would like to thank the French government for introducing the thirty-five-hour week and giving him time to do more interesting things on a Friday afternoon than work. Merci.
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The year does not begin in January.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Not to be confused with the Paul West book with the same name.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552772968, Paperback)

Paul West, a young Englishman, arrives in Paris to start a new job - and finds out what the French are really like They do eat a lot of cheese, some of which smells like pigs' droppings. They don't wash their armpits with garlic soap. Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after petanque. And, yes, they do use suppositories In his first novel, Stephen Clarke gives a laugh-out-loud account of the pleasures and perils of being a Brit in France. Less quaint than A Year in Provence, less chocolatey than Chocolat, A Year in the Merde will tell you how to get served by the grumpiest Parisian waiter; how to make perfect vinaigrette every time; how to make amour - not war; and how not to buy a house in the French countryside

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:47 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A Year in Merde tells the story of Paul West, a twenty-seven-year-old Brit brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of tearooms. Soon enough, he finds himself juggling a group of grumbling French employees, a treacherous Parisian boss, and a succession of lusty girlfriends (one of whom happens to be the bosss 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 having been stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language. The book also reveals the secrets of 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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