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.


a box of one's own

has it come to this--the hobo-ization of writing? read an article in the nyt today, from yesterday--yes behenji reads day old news-- in which the private and public spaces of writing are tested by 3 authors, who are under deadline to write a novel by june 4, within the creepy confines of white plastic panels-resembling shoji screens- all of 140 sq. feet. the goal, you ask-

'to constantly consider the relationship between life and art.'

behenji just has to twirl once, before her hips knock down those screens. and yet hip, hip hooray to those brave yet pretentious souls, who will toil before realizing 'you can't box art.' buying boxed art, however....ah, now there's another story.

miss me, miss me...now you have to...

ok, so the last thing you want to do is kiss behenji...especially since she has gone into hibernation. but behenji's ego was recently stroked by a friend, as she reprimanded behenji for not updating this blog. 'you have fans,' she said. 'yes,' i said. 'one, over my dining table. hahaha.' behenji's friend was not amused.

anyway, behenji is slightly shame-faced but ever obliging. so here goes...

stats right now-

bookworm behenji-currently reading the alchemy of desire by tarun tejpal. and yes, it is every bit what the critics say. it's definitely ' sex and sensuality,' or rather a new sense and sensibility for the new millenium. sorry if i've ruffled jane austen's petticoat for saying so.

bawarchi behenji-currently exploring moroccan cuisine and tapas

sufi behenji-listening to rabbi, who is not jewish, sing 'bullah ki jana main kaun'

bmw behenji-yes, she drives a beamer. all by herself. behenji finally got her license to roam the roads of california, after 32 years of road fright. and that too on the first attempt. now behenji parks between the lines...and reads between them too.

and hopefully behenji will write more lines too..in the very near future.