A Year in the Merde

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Dec 1, 2008 - Travel - 304 pages
532 Reviews
A Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author's
adventures as an expat in Paris. Based on his own experiences and with
names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action-and to
prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint
Laurent suit", the book is narrated by Paul West, a
twenty-seven-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company
to open a chain of British "tea rooms." He must manage of a group of
lazy, grumbling French employees, maneuver around a treacherous Parisian
boss, while lucking into a succession of lusty girlfriends (one of whom
happens to be the boss's morally challenged daughter). He soon becomes
immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all
cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly
cheese, and they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell
Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language.
The book will also tell you how to get the best out of the grumpiest
Parisian waiter, how to survive a French business meeting, and how not
to buy a house in the French countryside.

The author originally
wrote A Year in the Merde just for fun and self-published it in France
in an English-language edition. Weeks later, it had become a
word-of-mouth hit for expats and the French alike. With translation
rights now sold in eleven countries and already a bestseller in the UK
and France, Stephen Clarke is clearly a Bill Bryson (or a Peter
Mayle...) for a whole new generation of readers who can never quite
decide whether they love-or love to hate-the French.


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The premise is simple. - Goodreads
And the writing was bad, too. - Goodreads
Also has helpful cultural tips, always in a funny way. - Goodreads
I did enjoy the plot line about his corrupt boss, howe - Goodreads
A quick read and the plot does help hold it together. - Goodreads
The Dave Barry of writing about the French - Goodreads

Review: A Year in the Merde (Paul West #1)

User Review  - Barbara - Goodreads

I refused to finish this awful book. The Author seems to hate France with a passion. Probably, a French girlfriend or wife must have dumped him, such is his scorn toward French women: they are ... Read full review

Review: A Year in the Merde (Paul West #1)

User Review  - Olga - Goodreads

Very funny, an enjoyable read, especially good for travel or beach reading. Also a good way to pick up or refresh some French and learn British slang. Read full review


One Foot in the Merde
Make Yourself Chez
God Save the Cuisine
A Maison in the Country
Tensions as the Iraq war looms Meanwhile
The Joy of Suppositories
Liberté Égalité Get Out of My
and All That
With countless long weekends holiday

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About the author (2008)

Stephen Clarke is a British writer working for a French press group in
Paris. He has previously written comedy for BBC Radio. He is currently
working on the next volume of Paul West's adventures.

Bibliographic information