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 petanque. 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.
Stephen Clarke lives in Paris, where he divides his time between writing and not writing. His Merde novels have been bestsellers all over the world, including France. His non-fiction books include Talk to the Snail, an insider's guide to understanding the French; How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), an amused look at France's continuing obsession with Napoleon; Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France, a biography of Edward VII; and 1000 Years of Annoying the French, which was a number one bestseller in Britain. Research for The French Revolution and What Went Wrong took him deep into French archives in search of the actual words, thoughts and deeds of the revolutionaries and royalists of 1789. He has now re-emerged to ask modern Parisians why they have forgotten some of the true democratic heroes of the period, and opted to idolize certain maniacs. Follow Stephen on @SClarkeWriter and www.stephenclarkewriter.com