I read this over a very busy week and it was just what I needed; a quick read that didn’t need much concentration. It’s almost exactly what I was expecting after looking at the front cover and reading the back. Full of clichés, predictable jokes and lots of sexual innuendos.
Paul West, a young English business man in France, is working on a project to introduce typically English tea rooms across the capital. He works with a small, incompetent team and has a corrupt boss, who of course has a sexy assistant. And that is not the only time a sexy French lady is mentioned. In fact the majority of the book is about Paul goggling at sexy French women and trying to think up ways of negotiating himself into their sexy French knickers.
In between Paul’s humiliating chat up lines and sexual conquests, we really get a feel for what it’s like for an English ex pat living in Paris. We learn some useful tips on how to order a normal sized coffee or beer and there is some quite accurate information about finding accommodation in the overcrowded capital.
I wouldn’t say A Year in the Merde is a must read and it certainly isn’t for you if you want a less stereotypical diary of ex pat life in a foreign country. I would also warn feminists to stay away. But if you take the book for what it is – a quick and easy, non serious, jokey insight into the life of a young English man in Paris – the book can be an agreeable read, even if you do find yourself rolling your eyes a lot at certain jokes.
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