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A Year in the Merde (2004)

by Stephen Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Merde (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,819487,147 (3.29)54
A Year In The Merde is the story of 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 p?anque. 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.… (more)
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» See also 54 mentions

English (42)  French (3)  Lithuanian (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Quick lighthearted read by an author I suspect I wouldn't enjoy meeting in person. ( )
  brakketh | Jul 31, 2021 |
Young Englishman Paul West is hired by a French food corporation to organize and open their new venture in a chain of English tearooms in Paris. He's contracted to work on this project for one year, and so he enters the world of French business with barely any French language himself and leading a team that mostly doesn't understand him. His boss, suave Jean-Marie, seems the picture of the confident Frenchman, and Paul feels lucky to have such support, until he begins noticing cracks in the image, beginning with the sloppy way Jean-Marie conducts an office fling with an employee.
Paul's own libido often takes precedent over his work as he goes about the city, from work to cafes and bars, looking for just about any woman who will have him. His attempt at being a French country squire goes disastrously when he discovers that his boss has so much influence and power even that far from Paris. ( )
  mstrust | Mar 2, 2019 |
At times; at times silly; at times tedious and under-plotted. ( )
  tertullian | Jan 22, 2019 |
I think every traveler to France (no matter how competent they THINK they are in the language) experiences at least some of the things that Clarke recounts in this travel memoir. And depending on how traumatizing the experience ultimately was, we let our friends and family hear all about it when we get home. But few of us tell it all via the dry wit that Clarke consistently exhibits in A Year in the Merde. I actually lost count of how many times I laughed out loud.

This one is great fun for those who know know a bit of the language, including some French slang, but I think that even those who haven't been to France or who know more than a few basic words in French should enjoy this one. ( )
  SamSattler | Aug 4, 2017 |
Funny - Initially I thought it was non-fiction, but soon figured it out that it wasn't. Good writing and humour. ( )
  anglophile65 | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Clarkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wollermann, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Merde (1)

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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
The chief beauty of this book lies not so much in its literary style or in the extent and usefulness of the information it conveys, as its simple truthfulness. Its pages form the record of events that really happened. All that has been done is to colour them.
Jerome K.Jerome, preface to Three Men in a Boat
Dedication
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.
First words
The year does not begin in January.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Not to be confused with the Paul West book with the same name.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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A Year In The Merde is the story of 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 p?anque. 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.

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Average: (3.29)
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1.5 4
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