Almost French: A New Life in Paris Paperback – 26 May 2005
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A funny, heart-warming, romantic and poignant tale of fitting in... will appeal to the latest generation of Francophiles dreaming of starting a new life in France. (Living France)
An entertaining tale of being a fish out of water in one of the most magical cities in the world. (Everything France)
Turnbull pulls no punches when it comes to describing life among her new countrymen and is refreshingly direct about her own failings as perceived by the Parisians. Required reading for anyone contemplating a spot of French leave. (Marie Claire)
Best, most seductive and funniest travel memoir this summer is Sarah Turnbull's Almost French, a novel twist on an Australian twenty-something back-packer's romantic liaison with a very French Frenchman and the howling differences in language, customs and expected behaviour. (What's On in London)
Before EAT PRAY LOVE, there was ALMOST FRENCH.See all Product description
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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?
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.
I would recommend it to all Francophiles and anyone else who has an interest in other cultures.