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A Year In The Merde Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Clarke's no Bryson, but that's OK. This is a good read and a lot of fun. If you know a bit about France - and especially if you've worked there - you'll guffaw lavishly.
PS If you've ever wondered why France has one of Europe's highest rates of unemployment and a sloth-like economy, this book explains everything. And on this score, it's totally accurate.
However such comparisons aren't really relevant since this book is very much a work of fiction. To read it is to meet Paul West, an arrogant prat with few redeeming features, a protagonist who, when it comes down to it, is just plain dull.
The book's main problem is that while it is very funny in places, the author only seems to have one kind of humour at his disposal and it wears thin after a while. But for the reader who can look beyond this, a reasonably entertaining read awaits. Paul's journey from one catastrophe to the next as he tries to avoid both the excrement on the pavements of Paris as well as its metaphorical equivalent is strangely compelling. The phonetic renderings of Parisians attempts to pronounce English words are particularly clever. After a while it's easy to slip into it and join the main character in a race to work it out. It's not a book to be taken too seriously.
No wonder he has such a hard time. He seems to point-blank refuse to try and improve his language and in so doing help himself to get around better. He is very often arrogant, smug and forming opinions of that of someone so narrow-minded that he really shouldn't be travelling and expecting to enjoy the experience, if he is so set in his ways and refuses to adapt in even the slightest degree. I know that Paris can be chaotic and what he experiences, especially strikes, are very true to life. But he seems to be the kind of travellers with such a mentality as to never doing another country justice even if he does not encounter as many problems as he has.
I enjoyed this book as much as one would an airport fiction. It is on its way to the charity shop now that I am done with it, hopefully the next person would get more of a laugh out of it.
Furthermore, the book is relentlessly sexist in a Daily Mail kind of way. You know, 'Men Are From Mars...' kind of sexism defended by 'oh it's just a bit of fun' and a shrug. Female characters are described pretty much exclusively by what they're wearing and how attractive they are, are completely one-dimensional and obsessed with sleeping with the main character and there are some extremely nasty dismissals of women who don't meet Paul's standard. This being fiction this of course means that they are never main characters (they're all attractive, and fancy him) but instead just background uglies who are good for a put-down and nothing else. The whole thing made me feel very uncomfortable.
Boring, overlong, sexist and childish. No wonder that the Daily Mail thought it was brilliant.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, it is a very funny book. If you want to read something to relax and at the same time to get known about the life in Paris then this book is what you needPublished 1 month ago by Olena Karazieieva
Complete and utter tripe. Bought this as a book club read and we were all thoroughly disgusted by it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tappytippy
I fail to understand how this man can call himself a writer and produce total rubbish. This book lacks coherence, intelligence, and the use of the English language is of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kitty
Whilst spending six weeks in Mauritius and keen to improve my French I bought this book. It's unfunny, sexist, totally unentertaining and just plain awful. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Linda
This book is really witty - a lot of genuine laugh out loud moments (so be warned if you're on the train..). Read morePublished 5 months ago by H A Burnett