Talk to the Snail
Ten Commandments for Understanding the French
By Stephen Clarke
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781596913097, 272pp.)
Publication Date: December 26, 2006
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Have you ever walked into a half-empty Parisian restaurant, only to be told that it's "complet"? Attempted to say "merci beaucoup" and accidentally complimented someone's physique? Been overlooked at the boulangerie due to your adherence to the bizarre foreign custom of waiting in line? Well, you're not alone. The internationally bestselling author of A Year in the Merde and In the Merde for Love has been there too, and he is here to help. In Talk to the Snail, Stephen Clarke distills the fruits of years spent in the French trenches into a truly handy (and hilarious) book of advice. Read this book, and find out how to get good service from the grumpiest waiter; be exquisitely polite and brutally rude at the same time; and employ the language of l'amour and le sexe. Everything you need is here in this funny, informative, and seriously useful guide to getting what you really want from the French.
Stephen Clarke is a British journalist and the internationally bestselling author of A Year in the Merde and In the Merde for Love, which describe the misadventures of Paul West in France. He himself has lived in France for twelve years.
Once upon a time, it was fashionable to adore all things French. Those days are gone — remember "freedom fries"? — but author Danielle Trussoni is convinced that there are plenty of Americans who still love French culture, fashion and food. Trussoni recommends three books about France — all with a certain je ne sais quoi. More at NPR.org
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"Clarke renders the flavor of life in Paris impeccably: the endless strikes, the sadistic receptionists, the crooked schemes by which the wealthy and well-connected land low-rent apartments…Clarke's eye for detail is terrific."--Washington Post
"Call him the anti-Mayle. Stephen Clarke is acerbic, insulting, un-PC and mostly hilarious."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Combines the gaffes of Bridget Jones with the boldness of James Bond…Clarke's sharp eye for detail and relentless wit make even the most quotidian task seem surreal."--Publishers Weekly