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Almost French: A New Life in Paris Paperback – 14 Jul 2003
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"A funny, heart-warming, romantic and poignant tale of fitting in." -- Living France magazine, July 2003
"An entertaining tale of being a fish out of water in one of the most magical cities in the world." -- Everything France, July 2003
"Best, most seductive and funniest travel memoir this summer is Sarah Turnbulls Almost French." -- Whats On In London, 16th July 2003
"France is the new Italy Turnbulls insights into French culture are witty, insightful, and told with a journalists skill.." -- AB&P
"Required reading for anyone contemplating a spot of French leave." -- marie claire, August 2003
A marketing book for non-marketers ... you'll find practical advice that makes you re-evaluate how your messages are conveyed and received. -- Dr Michael Riley, Senior Lecturer in Education, Bath Spa University College
It's good to see a book that squarely puts the word SALES back into marketing ... required reading. -- Edwin Mutton, Director-General, Institute of Sales Promotion
Provides a wealth of insights that will help anyone with marketing responsibility ... turns theory into positive real-world results. -- Peter Muscutt, Marketing Manager, ChevronTexaco
In the tradition of Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, Chris Stewart's A Parrot in the Pepper Tree or Peter Mayle without the pile of stones, Almost French is a perceptive, poignant, often hilarious mixture of personal memoir and travel. As a student at University, Sarah Turnbull dropped French after failing the subject during her first year. Then, during a career break from journalism to travel the world, she finds herself changing her plans to settle permanently in Paris. Almost French is the witty account of her new life in Paris and the difficulties she faces in trying to integrate fully into Parisian culture while trying to establish herself as a freelance journalist. Sarah gives the reader a fascinating insight into her love/hate relationship with the French through humorous examples of runins with her new countrymen. Everything from using the correct language and etiquette to address everyone from the local baker to a senior figure in the French Ministry of Defence, from how you laugh and what you serve on your dinner table, to what you wear, all prove vital to being accepted as one of them. Finally, as the title suggests, Sarah succeeds in becoming 'almost French'.See all Product description
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Initially, her friendly Aussie demeanour is not always well received, but after some painful beginnings she and the natives acclimatise better. Sarah's cooking skills and tastes improve, and as a freelance journalist she gets to interview some key cultural figures. Her descriptions of daily Parisian life are witty and informative. This is a light, bright read.
It is ironic that I started reading the book a week or so before venturing on a trip to a quiet camp site south of the Loire where, by contrast, it's all too obvious that rural life depends upon an equilibrium which is less 'sophisticated', yet more real than the to-ing and fro-ing of the friends of Sarah in the 1990's. Village life means that what you sit in or at, what type of four course lunches you have and what fashion icons you slavishly follow have little to do with the ambience of the back streets of the French capital.
However, Sarah gives relevance to the different kind of survival with sensitivity and empathy, before the social changes of Paris gave rise to even more affluent elements of its evolution. The connection, the key element, to French life was, and is, however, still the friendships of groups of people, their interdependence for survival is the same.
Sarah's few short years before writing gave her an outsider's opinion enough to be independent Aw more objective than the average Parisian, whatever that is. Nevertheless, my observations of rural French life, the historic and sometimes decaying buildings still house some of the most warm and friendly people I have met; mostly French. Even in the depths of the beautiful regions south of the Loire are people who have been adopted...and adapted....by the French; one, a Glaswegan gardener/handyman, another a restauranteure who has been in France for the past 25 years and is as much a part of village life as any 'insider' who has been born and brought up in the French countryside.
Who else has an opinion about the evolution of France and its ever moving culture?
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