The latest episode in Stephen Clarke's almost-true account of his adventures as an expat in France is just as winning as the first. This "anti-Mayle" will have readers chortling over their croissants and café au lait while Paul West struggles to solve the mysteries inherent in life in France. What is the best way to scare a gendarme? Is it really polite to sleep with your boss's mistress? And why are there no public health warnings on French nude beaches? Paul discovers how to judge a French vacationer by the rustiness of his bicycle; opens his English tearoom; and finally understands why Parisian waiters are so cranky. Just in time for spring in Paris, find out if Paul finds the perfect French mademoiselle or if it all ends in merde!
Clarke, a British journalist working in Paris, offers fans of his international roman a; clef bestseller A Year in the Merde a novel-sequel that mixes adolescent humor with occasionally astute observations about an expatriate's life in France-with happy results. Clarke's alter-ego Paul West, a 27-year-old Englishman and culinary school graduate turned entrepreneur, opens a tearoom in Paris. After "accidentally screwing someone else," Paul must prove himself to Alexa, the woman he loves, and many shenanigans ensue. A chef with the Breton name of Yann Kerbolloc'h and the French seaside resort town of Ars are sources of great mirth, as are bum jokes, see-through nighties, the many names for male genitalia (dongler, todger, zizi, pair of walnuts and a chipolata, and "what I hoped was an adequate bump in my surfer shorts," to name a few). Clarke doesn't gloss over the racial tensions in Paris, and an occasional editorial voice can be heard, as when the protagonist laments "the dire state" of Britain's railways. On Nutella, he says, "Teenagers and jobless graduates turn to it with a spoon in times of stress." This quick summer read is a rollicking, self-mocking, and brazenly uncouth meal of bonbons coton.
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Despite the font disclaimer at the end, the book suffers from about one typo per page. The word “urn” is printed “um” where the “r” and “n” have combined typeset. So. On each page you’ll almost find glaring and confusing typos. The causes the reader to stumble and lose concentration.