Monday, February 27, 2012

The Book Review, Sunday, February 26, 2012: The English in France

Madame L recently checked a book out of her local library which was hilarious at times but mostly a disappointing ego trip for the author: "A Year in the Merde," by Stephen Clarke. 

If the title seems to ring a bell, that could be because the book seems to be taking "A Year in Provence," by Peter Mayle, to the next step.

What is the next step? Clarke fictionalizes the memoir and turns it into a lesson on the real way Parisians speak French, do business, and avoid stepping in the piles of dog poo. (It's a step down.)

And while "A Year in Provence" poked loving fun at the French as well as their vacationing and home-buying British invaders, "A Year in the Merde" mostly makes fun of the French, and not so lovingly. The only thing that could pass for love in this book is the mindless sex provided the narrator by various French women in a bourgeois society in which apparently real marital and filial love do not exist; everyone is out to bilk anyone they can out of their money, honor, and ideals; and hypocritical cynicism rules the day.

This was the kind of book that made Madame L glad she'd long ago perfected the art of skimming. While she doesn't recommend this book, she does highly recommend "A Year in Provence" for its gentle charm. And Madame L says to her Dear and Gentle Readers, "You're welcome...for keeping you from wasting time on a mediocre (at best) read."

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Thank you, Madame Elle. :-)