swimming in shit, the french way

came across this review from the folks at http://www.about.com/ i've always loved gay paris and love reading about ex-pats, from hemingway to...well, to this guy, whoever he is. the book is called 'a year in the merde.' and for those of you, not literate in french, merde means shit, crap, doodoo, poopoo...you get my point. its written by stephen clarke, an english businessman, who while working in france, was inspired by his own experiences to write a fictional memoir of an ex-pat. the reviewer, who seems to be of french descent, if not french, by the sound of his name, says the following-

'Merde recounts the fictional adventure and misadventures of Paul West, an English businessman sent to Paris to create and open an English tea room as he encounters the language and culture of Paris. This is not A Year in Provence,nor does it have the sweetness of Under the Tuscan Sun or its progeny. Clarke's full bodied approach (think smelly French cheese) makes this novel all the more delightful. '

'Merde is both real and metaphor. Dogs deposit 15 tons of poop onto the streets of Paris each year, resulting in the hospitalization of 650 people after a slip and fall. Clarke's account of learning to cope with the omnipresent poop provides one of the many hilarious learning opportunities. Of course, the metaphorical merde runs throughout the novel. One finds oneself deep into it in business, sex, or buying a house in the country. Curiously, West's boss intersects across each of these areas as Paul learns the nuances of French life. '

now, behenji is a french ex-pat wannabe, as pretentious as that may sound. the city definitely has many things going for itself, despite its paradoxes-cultural or otherwise. you can read more about paris and live vicariously through amardeep's blog post at http://www.lehigh.edu/~amsp/blog.html, look under may 08, as i did, a few days ago. and then go out and read a year in merde. or else you can try and snag a last minute flight and send behenji a picture from in front of le towering eiffel.