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Stephen Clarke lives in Paris, where he divides his time between writing and not writing. His first novel, A Year in the Merde, originally became a word-of-mouth hit in 2004, and is now published all over the world. Since then he has published three more bestselling Merde novels, as well as Talk to the Snail, an indispensable guide to understanding the French.
Research for Stephen's novels has taken him all over France and America. For 1000 Years of Annoying the French, he has also been breathing the chill air of ruined castles and deserted battlefields, leafing through dusty chronicles, brushing up the medieval French he studied at university and generally losing himself in the mists of history.
He has now returned to present-day Paris, and is doing his best to live the entente cordiale.
Funny, outrageous, irreverent, politically incorrect and not to be missed! The fifth adventure for our Englishman in France. Paul West is living the Parisian dream (but with no money, no job, nowhere to live), and doing his best not to annoy the French. But recently things have been going wrong... Jean-Marie, his old boss, is trying to cheat him out of his share in their English tea room. Alexa his old girlfriend seems to be stalking him. And to make things worse, his American friend Jake keeps reciting poems at him. Listen to an audio extract by clicking on the orange arrow below. The Merde Factor by Stephen Clarke by Random House Audiobooks
Paul West's apartment is so small that he has to cut his baguettes in two to fit them in the kitchen. His research into authentic French cuisine is about to cause a national strike. His Parisian business partner is determined to close their tea-room. And thinks that sexually harrassing his female employees is a basic human right. And Paul's gorgeous ex-girlfriend seems to be stalking him. Threatened with eviction, unemployment and bankrupcy, Paul realises that his personal merde factor is about to hit the fan...
March 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. We can imagine Parisians are up in arms about the book being published as Stephen Clarke goes behind the scenes to reveal everything they know about their city but don't want to tell you. From the best spots to eat, sleep just hang out it's invaluble inside information will have our Gallic cousins cursing 'le tourists' who know too much.
February 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Ten centuries' worth of French historical 'facts' bite the dust as Stephen Clarke looks at what has really been going on since 1066... It's a light-hearted but impeccably researched account of all our great fallings-out. With Clarke's trademark humour and lightness of touch that will be remembered with fondness from A Year in the Merde and Talk to the Snail, among others this is a brilliant take on the history of our near neighbour.
The third novel in the “Merde” series is the best one yet. You don’t have to have read the first two to thoroughly enjoy Paul West’s exploits as he and his French girlfriend travel across the States. English, French and American points of view all clashing together make for a brilliantly funny read and his cheeky style makes for a refreshing read.The books so far in this series are as follows:-1. A Year in the Merde2. Merde Actually3. Merde Happens
Not only is this incredibly funny but it is very informative and has wonderfully handy hints about how to handle yourself on a visit to France, including useful phrases for all kinds of situations. If you have been to France you will recognise so many of the characteristics of the French Clarke describes and if you haven’t been it is essential reading to help you understand the way their mind-set works. You might also enjoy A Year in the Merde and Merde Actually by the same author.
Paul West, an Englishman abroad in the classic sense, observant, astute and very British even though he attempts to infiltrate the French way of life. This comic semi-autobiographical yarn (it must be) follows on from his wonderful A Year in the Merde where Paul, the king of the comic phrase and ridiculous situation, still seeks love and understanding. It’s very tongue-in-cheek stuff.Comparison: Bill Bryson, Peter Mayle.Similar this month: None but try Sue Townsend
Outrageous, irreverent and politically incorrect, a young Englishman copes with the French. The odd spelling as he phoneticizes the French accent takes a bit of getting used to but get passed that, for it really is very funny. The scenario of setting up English Tea Houses in Paris seems, in my mind, ridiculous from the start; in this author’s hands it’s crazy. Real chuckle aloud stuff.Comparison: Bill Bryson, Peter Mayle, Tim Moore.Similar this month: Tom Sharpe, Anthony Horowitz. If you would like to read more books set in and around Paris, then go to the fabulous City-Lit Guide to Paris where you will find a plethora of titles featured.
An Englishman reveals the truth behind La vie Française. Hypocritical, inefficient, aggressive, adulterous, incredibly sexy. Are they or are they not??? That’s the question that Stephen Clarke answers with humour and gusto.
NEW UPDATED EDITION Was the Battle of Hastings a French victory? Non! William the Conqueror was Norman and hated the French. Were the Brits really responsible for the death of Joan of Arc? Non! The French sentenced her to death for wearing trousers. Did the French write God Save the Queen ? Non! But that's what they claim. Ten centuries' worth of French historical 'facts' bite the dust as Stephen Clarke looks at what has really been going on since 1066 ... Featuring new annoyances - both historical and recent - inflicted on the French, including Napoleon's banned chamber pot, Louis XIV's painful operation, Anglo-French jibes during the 2012 London Olympics, French niggles about William and Kate's royal wedding, and much more ...
The entertaining biography of Edward VII and his playboy lifestyle, by Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French and A Year in the Merde. Despite fierce opposition from his mother, Queen Victoria, Edward VII was always passionately in love with France. He had affairs with the most famous Parisian actresses, courtesans and can-can dancers. He spoke French more elegantly than English. He was the first ever guest to climb the Eiffel Tower with Gustave Eiffel, in defiance of an official English ban on his visit. He turned his French seduction skills into the diplomatic prowess that sealed the Entente Cordiale. A quintessentially English king? Pas du tout! Stephen Clarke argues that as 'Dirty Bertie', Edward learned all the essentials in life from the French.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHORBonjour cher reader,Ever since European history began, we Brits have been happily engaged in our national pastime - annoying the French. And the past couple of years have shown that this annoying never stops. To give just three examples:After a mid-Atlantic collision between French and British nuclear submarines, France's Minister of Defence seemed to blame the accident on ... shrimps.When French political superstar Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York, France's establishment was outraged. It soon emerged that sexual harassment was regarded as a basic human right by the country's male lite. (This theme provided so much excellent material that I decided to include it in the plot of my soon-to-be published novel, The Merde Factor.)And when David Cameron walked out of a Eurosummit, a French politician accused him of being 'like a man at a wife-swapping party who refuses to bring his own wife.' Yes, a very French image, and it just one of the many anti-Anglais insults that came flying across the Channel. You will find all this, and much more, in Annoying the French Encore! Because, for the French, the merde never ends.Yours historically,Stephen Clarke, Paris, August 2012 Tremendously entertaining Sunday Times Relentlessly and energetically rude Mail on Sunday
From the bestselling author of A Year in The Merde, the Ten Commandments for Living with the FrenchHave you been taken to what you've been assured is the perfect house deep in the French countryside, only to find there's no electricity or running water? Gone to the doctor with a nasty cough, and been diagnosed with a rather more personal complaint? Walked into an half-empty restaurant, only to be told that it's complet?If the answer to any of the above is oui, Talk to the Snail is the book for you.Find out how to get served in a restaurant; the best way to deal with French hypochondria; learn the language of love, sex and suppositories (not necessarily in that order); it's all here in this funny, informative, seriously useful guide on how to get what you really want from the French.With advice on essential phrases and bons mots to cover all eventualities, and illustrated with witty real-life anecdotes, Talk to the Snail is a book that no self-respecting Francophile - or Francophobe - can afford to be without.Don't go to France without reading this book.And don't even think of buying a house there.
Self-published in France, and a subsequent bestseller, the hilarious story of a year in the life of a young Englishman abroad.Paul West, a young Englishman, arrives in Paris to start a new job - and finds out what the French are really like.They do eat a lot of cheese, some of which smells like pigs' droppings. They don't wash their armpits with garlic soap. Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after p,tanque. And, yes, they do use suppositories.In his first novel, Stephen Clarke gives a laugh-out-loud account of the pleasures and perils of being a Brit in France. Less quaint than A Year in Provence, less chocolatey than Chocolat, A Year in the Merde will tell you how to get served by the grumpiest Parisian waiter; how to make perfect vinaigrette every time; how to make amour - not war; and how not to buy a house in the French countryside.
Q: What happens when an Englishman, an American, and a French woman drive across America in a Mini? A: Merde Happens ...Paul West is in deep financial merde. His only way out of debt is to accept a decidedly dodgy job that involves him touring America in a Mini, while pretending to be typically British.Also in the car is Paul's French girlfriend, Alexa, and his American poet friend, Jake, whose main aim in life is to sleep with a woman from every country in the world. Preferably in the back of Paul's Mini.But as the little car battles from New York to Miami, and then heads west, leg-room turns out to be the least of Paul's troubles. His work is being sabotaged, his tour plans are in tatters, and his love life becomes a Franco-American war zone.And as Paul knows better than anyone, when you mix love and war - merde happens ...
From the bestselling author of A Year in the Merde, the next instalment in the hilarious adventures of Paul West.'Edgier than Bryson, hits harder than Mayle' The TimesA year after arriving in France, Englishman Paul West is still struggling with some fundamental questions:What is the best way to scare a gendarme? Why are there no health warnings on French nudist beaches? And is it really polite to sleep with your boss's mistress?Paul opens his English tea room, and mutates (temporarily) into a Parisian waiter; samples the pleasures of typically French hotel-room afternoons; and, on a return visit to the UK, sees the full horror of a British office party through Parisian eyes.Meanwhile, he continues his search for the perfect French mademoiselle. But will Paul find l'amour ,ternel, or will it all end in merde?MERDE ACTUALLYIn his second comedy of errors, Paul West continues to sabotage the entente cordiale.Author's apology: 'I'd just like to say sorry to all the suppository fans out there, because in this book there are no suppositories. There are, however, lots of courgettes, and I see this as progress. Suppositories to courgettes - I think it proves that I'm developing as a writer.' Stephen Clarke
Bemused Brit Paul West steps in it once again when a romantic getaway to the south of France is spoiled by international intrigueWhen the glorious oceanographer Gloria Monday convinces Paul West to travel to the swank beaches of southern Francewhere she's investigating caviar-smuggling cartelshe assumes he's about to have the time of his life. But for West, France has always been full of surprises underfoot, and this trip is no exception to the rule. He's soon dragged into an undercover investigation that goes all the way to the top and leaves him feeling sometimes like James Bond, sometimes like Inspector Clouseau.Dial M for Merde is a comic caper that pokes fun at French society at every level, from pompous politicians to grumpy waitstaff.
A guide to Paris for those who are mystified by the city, those who are in love with it, and those who feel a little of bothStephen Clarke may have adopted Paris as his home, but he still has an Englishman's eye for the people, cafes, art, sidewalks, food, fashion, and romance that make Paris a one-of-a-kind city. This irreverent outsider-turned-insider guide shares local savoir faire, from how to separate the good restaurants from the bad to navigating the baffling Metro system. It also provides invaluable insights into the etiquette of public urination and the best ways to experience Parisian life without annoying the Parisians (a truly delicate art). Clarke's witty and expert tour of the city leaves no boulevard unexploredeven those that might be better left alone.
Stephen Clarke's hilarious and enlightening history of the love-hate relationship between Britain and FranceThings have been just a little awkward between Britain and France ever since the Norman invasion in 1066. Over the subsequent thousand years of wars, treaties, and cultural rivalries, the strange relationship between these nations ranged from contentious to comic. From the Hundred Years' War and Joan of Arc, to the American Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase, to the ascendance of Napoleon Bonaparte and dawning of the Victorian era, Clarke examines with insight and humor the misfortunes and missteps that marked British and Frenchand sometimes Americanrelations through the centuries.Fast-paced and endlessly entertaining, 1,000 Years of Annoying the French is a riveting history of western Europe's oddest couple.
In the South of France, Paul West has a licence to thrill...Paul West has received an offer he can't refuse: two weeks in the sun with a beautiful blonde. M, as she likes to be known, is down south to report on caviar trafficking - or is she? Meanwhile, Paul's friend Elodie is marrying an aristocrat, and Paul has been asked to do the catering. Although cooking for the French is always a risky assignment ... As Paul is sexually harassed by a hen party, picked on by French commandos and arrested by excitable gendarmes, events start spiralling out of control. And when he discovers that M's real target is France's new President - and that he's coming to Elodie's wedding - Paul realises the merde really is about to hit the fan...
Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Press, founded in 1757, is the most celebrated of the early English private presses, unique for the importance of the books, pamphlets, and ephemera it produced. This illustrated study of the Press draws on a remarkable array of surviving images of the Printing House, many of them newly discovered and previously unstudied. But more than that, this book provides an original and sustained analysis of Walpole's extraordinary literary endeavor, and of the complex variety of purposes that the Press fulfilled. The volume not only assesses all known images to discover what they can tell us about Walpole's Press, but also reveals that, quite unexpectedly, a large part of Walpole's Printing House survives to this day.
PARIS - one of the most visited cities in the world. BUT do you know ... Which is the most romantic spot to say 'je't'aime'? And the sexiest? Where to see fantastic art, away from all the crowds? Why Parisian men feel compelled to pee in the street? How to choose a hotel room where you might actually get a good night's sleep? Stephen Clarke goes behind the scenes to reveal everything Parisians know about their city - but don't want to tell you.
"e;Dass Paris speziell ist, dammerte mir schon als Achtjahrigem. Mum und Dad verreisten fur ein Wochenende - allein! Den glucklichen Ausdruck auf ihren Gesichtern, als sie mich bei Tante Esther abholten, habe ich nie vergessen..."e; Wenn auch Sie Paris verfallen und dabei seine Einwohner verstehen wollen: Stephen Clarke, Wahlpariser und Bestsellerautor, liefert die charmant-witzige Anleitung dazu. Er weiht in die hohe Kunst des Flanierens und in die eines ersten Rendezvous ein, in die Geheimnisse von Kunsthandlern und Taxifahrern. Er verrat, welche Vorzuge ein Pariser Hotel haben sollte und wie Sie sich fur den Besuch in der Fromagerie wappnen. Und was er als hochoffizieller Juror beim "e;Grand Prix de la Baguette de Paris"e; alles erlebte.