A Year in the Merde (Stephen Clarke Book Review)

I bought this book a while ago, inexplicably moving it to the bottom of my unread book pile in favour of other books. I just never felt in the mood for it. Rather interesting book outside my normal genre of reading. So, this weekend when I was bored out of my skull, I finally decided to give it a try.

I have to admire the book for the cover quote “There are lots of French people who not at all hypocritical, inefficient, treacherous, intolerant, adulterous or incredibly sexy…. They just didn’t make it into my book.” That’s a brutally up-front statement, and yet it’s very indicative of the book’s attitude. And that isn’t a bad thing because that’s what makes it such an enjoyable read. Is it a work of art? No. But if you know the English and you know the French this book is going to really tickle your funny bone and hold your interest. If you don’t know the French or English much of this book might just sail right by you. Much of the joy comes from having experienced (for example) the brasserie waiters, the French strikes, the English unflappability, and seeing them forced together.

If you’re not sure if it’s up your alley, perhaps you should try the paperback. This book is many things, but happily n’est-ce pas merdique 🙂

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