A Year in the Merde

Version: Abridged
Author: Stephen Clarke
Narrator: Gerard Doyle
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Comedy
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published In: May 2005
# of Units: 4 CDs
Length: 4 hours
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An urban antidote to "A Year in Provence, Stephen Clarke's book is a laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris-- for Francophiles and Francophobes alike
A YEAR IN THE MERDE is the almost-true account of the author's adventures as an expat in Paris. Based loosely 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 (or quite possibly, a Christian Dior skirt)," A YEAR IN THE MERDE is the story of a Paul West, a 27-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British "tea rooms." 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; they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language, while going on strike is the second national participation sport after petanque. He also illuminates 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, even outselling Bill Clinton's memoir at Paris's fabled American bookstore Brentano's. With translation rights now sold in eleven countries, 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 loveto hate--the French.

Reviews (4)

highly reccomended

Written by Charles from Youngstown, OH on July 2nd, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is the funniest book I have rented from Simply Audiobooks. It is a little raunchy, but is written by a very witty fellow so it is generally advisable for anyone.

A Year in the Merde

Written by Cheryl Sattler on May 20th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Fluffy and fun, a good beach read. However, don't hope for something like A Year in Provence, a book to which the title clearly alludes - it's nowhere near as deep, nor as wonderful.

Unfortunately, There's a Plot

Written by Anonymous from Los Angeles, CA on April 22nd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This book is perfectly entertaining, and often more than that, until the author decides he needs to include a plot (rather than just observations on the toilet habits of Parisian dogs, and the manners of Parisian waiters), which weighs down the book like an anchor. It's a good book -- but it could have been so much better.

light, entertaining

Written by Anonymous from Chapel Hill, NC on July 28th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Stephen Clarke is a funny man in a sort of youngish middle-aged unmarried horny typically incredulous sort of way. As the plot thickens, the book loses some of its humor, but I found it light and entertaining throughout -- found myself smiling constantly as I drove.

Author Details

Author Details

Clarke, Stephen

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.