A Year in the Merde
BlurbA Year in the Merde is a comic novel by Stephen Clarke first published in 2004 under the pen name Paul West. In later editions, the author's real identity was revealed. In France, the book title is God save la France. Paul West is in fact the first-person narrator, a 27-year-old Englishman, single and unattached, who is recruited by a French entrepreneur and given a one-year contract in Paris to plan and organise a chain of tea rooms which his employer wants to open in the French capital. The novel covers fictional events of that year, starting in September 2002 and ending in the summer of 2003. Set at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, A Year in the Merde is about the cultural differences between the British and the French, which are somewhat heightened by the war, especially by the opposing views on the invasion held by Blair and Chirac respectively. The French reaction to the strong anti-French sentiment in the United States is also captured in the novel. The book also brings out the ambivalent attitude of the French towards the citizens of their capital, Paris, which is treated almost as a foreign country.
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