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Merde Actually [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephen Clarke
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.24 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 April 2006

'Edgier than Bryson, hits harder than Mayle'

The Times

A year after arriving in France, Englishman Paul West is still struggling with some fundamental questions:

What is the best way to scare a gendarme? Why are there no health warnings on French nudist beaches? And is it really polite to sleep with your boss's mistress?

Paul opens his English tea room, and mutates (temporarily) into a Parisian waiter; samples the pleasures of typically French hotel-room afternoons; and, on a return visit to the UK, sees the full horror of a British office party through Parisian eyes.

Meanwhile, he continues his search for the perfect French mademoiselle. But will Paul find l'amour éternel, or will it all end in merde?


In his second comedy of errors, Paul West continues to sabotage the entente cordiale.

Author's apology: 'I'd just like to say sorry to all the suppository fans out there, because in this book there are no suppositories. There are, however, lots of courgettes, and I see this as progress. Suppositories to courgettes - I think it proves that I'm developing as a writer.' Stephen Clarke

Frequently Bought Together

Merde Actually + A Year In The Merde + Merde Happens
Price For All Three: 16.42

Buy the selected items together
  • A Year In The Merde 5.59
  • Merde Happens 5.59

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552773085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773089
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Clarke lives in Paris, where he divides his time between writing and not writing. His first novel, A Year in the Merde, originally became a word-of-mouth hit in 2004, and is now published all over the world. Since then he has published three more bestselling Merde novels, as well as Talk to the Snail, an indispensable guide to understanding the French. Research for Stephen's novels has taken him all over France and America. For 1000 Years of Annoying the French, he has also been breathing the chill air of ruined castles and deserted battlefields, leafing through dusty chronicles, brushing up the medieval French he studied at university and generally losing himself in the mists of history. He has now returned to present-day Paris, and is doing his best to live the entente cordiale. For more information about Stephen Clarke and his books, visit his website:

Product Description


"Edgier than Bryson, hits harder than Mayle" (The Times)

"The season's word-of-mouth book" (Daily Mail)

"Must-have comedy-of-errors diary of being a Brit abroad" (Mirror)

Book Description

From the bestselling author of A YEAR IN THE MERDE, the next instalment in the hilarious adventures of Paul West.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud! 6 Sep 2005
By A Customer
I was given this book after running out of good books when working in France. I just couldn't put it down. With it's likeable characters and very funny scenarios, it's a very easy holiday read,especially when in France. Going through the same as Paul West and having to visit a french doctor. Being given a nearly A4 size prescription with about 10 things on it for a throat infection; and realising, as the character did, that there is pharmacy on nearly every street corner, had me in stitches. If you want a laugh out loud, can't put it down read, but not all this girlie relationship fiction, then this is your book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funnier than the first one 1 Mar 2006
I read this book today, after hauling it halfway around the world to read. I'm an English woman in China and though the coutries are different, the insight and entertainment's the same.
I preferred Merde Actually to A Year in the Merde because he develops the storyline between two characters as well as continues to make readers chuckle out loud in airports, train stations and bus stations around the world. Especially loved the Da Vinci bit, and the dancing bit, and the politics bit, and the getting caught with the pants down bit, and, well I'm sure you get the point.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not merde at all... 26 Aug 2005
I read the first book featuring "Pol Wess" and it was great, although not nearly as funny as this one. I bought it at the airport to take on holiday with me and I laughed out loud so many times that by a couple of days in my boyfriend was keen to read it after me! A really entertaining read that you can easily pick up and put down at any point without losing the thread and a good series of observations on how it feels to try and really fit into French culture when you're really a bit of a Brit through and through!
Good Stuff, definitely reccommend it, and anyone who has ever lived in France will love it. So many "I know exactly what he's talking about" moments it's hilarious!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Merde me laugh 8 May 2006
This book follows on from A Year in the Merde and continues the story of Paul West, an Englishman living in Paris and trying to start his own business - an English Tea Room. I don't think this book is quite as good as the first one, which dealt more with Paul's experiences of the French and the hilarious cultural and linguistic differences. This one contains much more about his romantic encounters with different women, which might appeal more to male readers. Nevertheless, there are quite a few funny parts which made me laugh out loud, and this is why I thought it deserved four stars. A great book to take on holiday as it's not demanding and runs to some 400 pages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah OUI, OUI, OUI.... 4 Jan 2006
Having lived with a French woman now for many years, often visiting the over-vined country side and the mother-in-law, I have to say this book is hilarious. Yes I have come very close to being drawn and quartered for dripping water on the bathroom floor, have seen the flannel dressing gown from hell, have been looked at with venom for requesting a cup with a handle and have nearly died twice because the bloke pulling onto my road has the right of way...NOT ME!
The sarcasm of this book only completes the British outlook on a nation which is so against anything foreign they forget they are just like us really.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Better or not as good as the first? This seems to be the question when people review this book and for what it is worth I am going to be my hat firmly in the… Neither camp… The reason I say this is that I find Merde Actually firmly on a par with the first book, which is no surprise really when you consider that this book is more of a continuation from A Year In The Merde rather than a sequel.
The story picks up largely where the last one finished, Paul has left the employment of the ever stylish yet smarmy Jean-Marie Martin and has embarked on his ambitious plan to open his tea room – to us Brits the ludicrously named “My Tea Is Rich” but as all things that can be lost in translation, the name just kinda fits. Paul of course has time for other distractions in his life and at the beginning of the book this distraction takes the form of the very attractive Florence, who plans to be his business partner in the Tea shop venture. Will these two be able to but the business side of their relationship ahead of the more physical one? And more importantly will ever get back with his ex? Will Jake ever finish his poem? All might be revealed…
This book has the same infusion of humour and social satire that so worked in the first book – this if anything is where I draw my criticism.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Merde Actually 18 Feb 2006
By EKjambo
Enjoyable but nowhere near as good as the first book. The first half of this book is very interesting and funny and deals with the amusing interpretation of the cultural issues. The second half moves away from this theme and concentrates mostly on the characters relationships with much lass emphasis on the French flavour. The final 3 of the 8 chapters are not great and the quality of the writing drops quite a bit. All that said it was a good enough, quick read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 days ago by steve vaughan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Arrived in good time and good condition to take as part of a wedding present.
Published 1 month ago by Gym Queen
3.0 out of 5 stars A good holiday read
I wasn't expecting a racy romantic book when I purchased this book. It's vulgar and sexual but not offensive. It's very well observed, honest and fun. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marjorie Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars difficult going
Actually found this highly rated book hard to get through. Thought it wasn't at all amusing, rather coarse in language, and not at all what I had expected from its reviews. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Rodriguez-Veglio
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
If you know the French, it will have you chuckling all through.. a very easy read .. buy it and you won't regret it
Published 5 months ago by K W Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good but I DETEST that Amazon is forcing me to review this book before I can finish it on my Kindle Fire HD.
Published 7 months ago by Tina
4.0 out of 5 stars cool, but A Year in the Merde was better
A year in the merde was funnier but I liked this sequel very much as well.
Very entertaining. I would definitely recommend it.
Published 8 months ago by Richard H
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality thinly disguised as a novel?
Reality thinly disguised as a novel? Whatever.... a very funny read. We probably enjoy our love/hatred relationship with the French because they are in so many, albeit... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Geoffrey C. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious.
This is as funny as the first book. Which is very funny. What can I say, if you want a laugh read it. Continuing adventures of a young Englishman in France.
Published 9 months ago by Bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars More funny French tales.
Very funny, catch up with more French fun with the authors Twitter feeds. All people thinking of buying a French farmhouse to retire to!
Published 12 months ago by susie52
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