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A Year In The Merde by [Clarke, Stephen]
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A Year In The Merde Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

"'Has done more for the Entente Cordiale than any of our politicians' Daily Mail" --Daily Mail

Daily Mail

'Has done more for the Entente Cordiale than any of our politicians'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 615 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552772968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552772969
  • ASIN: B0031RDVAU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Well, it's very funny. And I didn't want to find it funny. Reason: I've lived in France, and expected this to be the usual lame collection of stereotypes and dull anecdotes masquerading as original lampoon/satire. There are a few clichés, but Clarke is a talented writer and he disguises them well. Plus there's enough authentic observation of national characteristics to keep the thing moving along nicely, and to provoke some nice belly laughs. Moreover, there's a jolly storyline that keeps you gagging for more.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This book has been constantly compared with the works of Bill Bryson and Peter Mayle, the latter being the author of "A Year in Provence". I haven't read either of these, but I have read "Driving Over Lemons" and I would place this "Merde" book ahead of it.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Many people in Paris have already read this book in its first edition, and enjoyed it very much! Being one of them, and having lived in the UK for a few years, I can relate to most of what Stephen Clarke depicts in this hectic year in Paris... and I probably missed some of it, but I laughed out loud and now I'm asking for more!
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Format: Paperback
I read this book whilst meeting up with some friends in Paris. It was okay, well, it was funny I guess. But after the initial "oh yes, that's true", and "oh look, I've been there," I realised that perhaps the narrator isn't as funny as he seems to think that he is, as he then proceeds to annoy me ever so slightly in his very set, stubborn and boring ways. I enjoyed this book like one would enjoy a light-hearted book. It was easy, nothing remarkable at all, and does not require much thought. It wasn't so much the stereotyping that annoys me since all travel writing involves some of that. Bill Bryson, who I love, when writing about his stay in Copenhagan, writes, "the Danes" many times. The generalisation cannot be helped as it is not easy to get into the culture and get to know many people and get a sense of the diversity when one is on a short stay. But the narrator in this book is not on a short stay. He is suppose to be working in Paris for one year.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this after following links from books about real people who upped sticks and moved, so I was a little surprised by the candour in this - until I realised the character is fictional. This allows the author to explore Parisian relationships more fully, giving a different and urban slant to the usual 'move to rural France' offerings. A lively and informative account of twenty-something life and attitudes in Paris.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Clarke must have been unable to believe the success of this book: he's basically repackaged a bunch of cliches about the French and made a fortune off of it. The characters are completely one-dimensional, the protagonist is entirely unlikeable and the most obvious author insertion I've ever seen in a book like this.

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.
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