A Year in the Merde
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There are lots of French people who are not at all hypocritical, inefficient, aggressive, arrogant, adulterous or incredibly sexy. They just didn’t make it into this book …A YEAR IN THE MERDE is the almost-true account of a year in the life of Brit expat, Stephen Clarke.Inspired partly by the culture shock on his arrival in Paris in September 2002, and partly by the enviable sales figures of Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”, Stephen started keeping a diary of his hilarious experiences chez the French. As The Guardian newspaper reported, Stephen printed several hundred copies in his garage to send to friends, just for fun. Within a few weeks, however, his parodic novel became a word of mouth must have book in Paris and in some bookstores, outsold Clinton’s memoirs. The story of a 27-year-old lad, a cross between Hugh Grant and David Beckham who is hired to open a tearoom in Paris, Clarke recounts everything from the perils of slippery dog poo (650 Parisians hospitalised per year) to a deconstruction of extravagant lingerie. The best way to find an apartment in Paris? Get a French girlfriend and move in. The French way to treat a cold? Use a suppository. The French national sport? Going on strike. This is a laugh-out-loud tale of the pleasures and perils of being a foreigner in France and why the entente may never be quite as cordiale as we would like it.