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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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