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Merde Happens [Digital Download]

3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Digital Download
  • ISBN-10: 1407038540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407038544
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hilarious Paul West's adventure 21 Nov. 2007
The author of best-selling novels "Merde Actually" and "A year in the Merde", published a new novel "Merde Happens". The novel shifts from the traditional setting of Paris to selected locations of the US for a promotional campaign, including New York, historical Boston, beach culture Miami, swamps of the deep south, casino city Las Vegas and movie world Los Angeles. The cast includes funny Englishman Paul, French madamoiselle Alexa and poet Jake. The mission is to promote Royal Britainnic to the Yanks, by driving a mini coated in the distinctive colours of the British flag. Is the mission a looming discaster, bearing in mind of Paul ignorance and naive handling of a tea room shop in Paris? All will be revealed in the novel.

Stephen Clarke is an experienced stand up comedian which is clearly evident whilst reading the novel. Interesting and funny facts about typical American's culture is beatifully and clearly pointed out and narratted in a richly entertaining novel. For example the historical insults inflicted on the idea of an English tea room in Boston, the yanks loving of maple syrup pancake, Shakesphere presence and French influence in America.

I really enjoyed reading "Merde Happens" as it filled with endless humour and colorful range of characters that you would expect to find in the States or maybe it is stereotype views. The novel is well balanced. It consist of a fine blend of facts and humour. The novel is a real pleasure to read.

Out of all previous novels by the author, Merde Happens stands out the most. The plot to the story is well defined and clearly coherent, with sub headings for chapters. The characters are strongly represented in the novel. Overall, a great entertaining and light piece of reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Diminishing returns 12 Dec. 2011
The first one in the series was truly hilarious, especially for those like me who actually knows something about life in Paris if you're not French. Evidently, Mr Clarke put everything into it, because the second one felt much more shallow in terms of an actual insight into various ways of the French. Also, there were signs of the story turning into a simple comedy of relationships rather than fish-out-of-water comedy, done so well in the first one. Still, it got its moments and, on the whole, was OK (if you exclude the ending, which was contrived and artificial beyond belief). Now, the third one... simply a dud. Lacks everything that made the first one so great, but most of all - totally lacks witty observations. It feels like it was written due to the contractual obligations, and the author actually does not have a lot to say about anything, USA in particular. This time there is no feeling of a personal experience behind the adventures of Paul West, so his American mishaps lack authenticity. The cheapest and most obvious cliches about the USA are exploited, and it feels like this book could have been written by someone who's never even been to the States.

Seems that Mr Clarke (or his publishers) decided to expand his reader base to include the American side (after all, no matter how great A Year In The Merde was, you really need to have to experience even a tiny bit of Paris to truly enjoy it, which is not the case for most of the Americans and thus seriously hits the sales figures overseas). Perhaps it wasn't so bad in itself, but it is painfully evident that he simply does not have as much material to work with in this case (be it his superficial knowledge of the American life or a lack of interest to it), so he relies on almost Hollywood-sized stereotypes to produce gags.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Step Too Far 3 Feb. 2009
By Gannon
The third in the sequence of adventures of Paul West - English expatriate sent to France on business and his misadventures and comic anecdotes. The first, and to a lesser extent the second, in the series I cannot recommend enough. These are very funny, satirical accounts, akin with Bryson et al, but even more tongue in cheek. Even better if you have spent time in French or are familiar with the French language.

This tirrd installment sees Paul West travel to the US on business with his socialist french girlfriend in tow: hilarity ensues - just not as much as in the last two episodes. Clarke's tone is addictive and his works read very easily. Recommended page turning holiday lit, but not for the new comer. Start with A Year In The Merde.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern-day Moliere 26 Jan. 2009
By Joanna
It's a rare author who, after a first best-selling book, is able to continue producing follow-ups of equal quality. Stephen Clarke has managed to write yet another gem, exquisitely well-written, exquisitely funny and highly entertaining. And what a delight it is to have someone who actually produces intelligent humour.
Another thing I admire about Clarke's writing is that he manages to make his fiction sound so true-to-life you find it hard to believe it is actually fiction.
What I like too about Merde Happens (as well as Clarke's other books in the Merde series) is that his well-observed descriptions of various nationalities' little idiosyncrasies never sound patronising . I'd go as far as saying he's a modern-day Molière!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet! 25 July 2007
My entire family has been following the adventures of Paul West. As much as we enjoyed the others, this is the best one yet. Very funny with lots of interesting information about the Americans added to the usual great look at the French.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent product and prompt delivery
Published 1 day ago by Cate
2.0 out of 5 stars More of the same
Very similar to the previous books, but the joke has worn thin and the lead character is less likable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by L&D
5.0 out of 5 stars The first two are the best
The first two are the best
Published 8 months ago by Tony Dean.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
My husband loved this book
Published 11 months ago by EverLearning
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
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 15 months ago by K W Baker
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good
I enjoyed stephen clarks other books but not so much this one.go back to france stephen its funnier .usa not so good
Published 18 months ago by lee stoke
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe it!
Health warning, you can become seriously incapacitated through laughing..a really great romp by my favorite author. keep them coming Stephen :-)
Published 18 months ago by John M. Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I have been a fan of these series, however I found this book far from the other two, repetitive, slow and not so funny :(
Published 21 months ago by Peter
4.0 out of 5 stars Another USA Road Trip
Not as good as his French stuff but still entertaining and some very witty observations. Worth a read on the beach as it is none too taxing!
Published 22 months ago by clonmellon12
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
A great book, but not my favorite in the series. I guess I love the French elements more, but still very much worth a read though!
Published 23 months ago by Anthony Dodd
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