- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 443 KB
- Print Length: 73 pages
- Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd.; 1 edition (7 Oct. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00FPXASX6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #311,709 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Reluctant Traveller: France and the French Kindle Edition
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I have no insightful critique, but feel compelled to say that this provided exactly what I was looking for; quite simply it made me laugh!
Mr. Byron is one of those Englishmen who believes that "the wogs start at Calais." Imagine his consternation when he finds himself maneuvered by Stanley, his pretentious, busybody Francophile friend, into agreeing to a summer excursion across the Channel. The bickering, ill-assorted pair set out on what quickly disintegrates into a series of hilarious misadventures.
Francophobia, Mr. Byron reminds us, has a long and proud tradition in Britain, and especially among those members of the island race who actually see the neighboring country first hand. He quotes liberally from the 18th Century travel journals of Smollett and Sterne to prove his point, as well as from such luminaries as the Duke of Wellington: "We have always been, we are, and I hope that we shall always be detested in France."
All this malice might be regarded as excessive, were it not for the fact the Mr. Byron's treatment at the hands of those French people he meets in the course of his journey--corrupt police, snooty waiters and sadistic medical men--incline the reader to think that he is perfectly justified in his prejudices.
Mr. Byron has a gift for combining low comedy with Olympian literary and historical gags. Sometimes the gags are so highbrow that the general reader is liable to miss them altogether. For example, when he and Stanley encounter a pair of blundering American tourists at the Musée D'Orsay, the Americans inquire of the lads in their best pidgin French if they are at the Gare D'Orsay--the railroad station of the same name. With remarkable aplomb, Stanley replies, "C'est magnifique, Madame, may ce n'est pas la Gare."
Now, I happen to know that at the Charge of the Light Brigade, there was a French marshal observing the heroic slaughter who said, "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre" ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.") But I wonder how many of Mr. Byron's readers will possess that bit of historical trivia, or know enough French to get the punning substitution of "gare" for "guerre."
Still, no real harm is done by this sophisticated word play. The cognoscenti will get the jokes, and the general readers will pass on to the next madcap escapade of the two British boys in France, unaware that they have missed anything. Mr. Byron, the reluctant traveler, is most unlikely to have reluctant readers.
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