Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French by Stephen Clarke Online

Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French
Title : Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781596913097
Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272

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 aHave 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. Praise for A Year on the Merde: "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


Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French Reviews

  • La Petite Américaine

    I bought this book because:1) I have French friends and have no idea what the hell they're thinking2)I have an infatuation with French men and have no idea what the hell they're thinking3)I am slowly being seduced by all things French and have no idea what the hell I'm thinkingThe French mentality is so fascinating to me because I don't understand it beyond what seems like a mix of class, snobbery, and something alluring. This book is a funny, quick read, but the author forgets one crucial fact: [...]

  • Julie Rotharmel

    If you don't know anything about France, this book is not at all for you. It is not an historical account, it is not a France for Dummies. IF, however, you're like me and love France, have been to France, spent extensive time in France as an expat, and you can take a joke, read this! Funny.

  • Mantvydas Juozapavicius

    A survival guide.How to survive in a very complicated country.

  • Martyn

    This was a hugely disappointing read for me. I was hoping to learn some new things about French culture and society but ended up feeling angry. I read ‘A Year in the Merde’ some years ago and enjoyed it and so I was hoping for more of the same from this - it was not to be. I did enjoy some parts of it but it's about a star and a half really.On page 249, a page I had to re-read because the author seemed to contradict himself about 10 times, Clarke says “The conventional wisdom is…” and [...]

  • liz

    As much as I love "A Year in the Merde" and its sequel, this book blows them both away. I loved this book. I REALLY, REALLY loved this book. Everything is true, and it's hysterically funny, and it's just fantastic. And there IS some practical advice, as well. I need to own it. These days, the most important ingredient in French culture is the navel There is even a word for this in French -- nombrilisme. 'Navelism' is so entrenched that it is an 'ism.'And their excuse is: OK, it may be merde, but [...]

  • Laura Greenwood

    Review posted on 5th June on a-reader-lives-a-thousand-liveTalk to the Snail is another satirical look at the French by author Stephen Clarke, an expat in Paris. The thing I like about his books is that I can relate to what he is saying, having lived in Paris I have had the experiences he described and as I am reading I think 'that is exactly what the French are like'.This book is a must read for anyone moving to France, and if you're just going on holiday there I suggest you read it to! Clarke [...]

  • Chelsea

    When I read "trash," it is stuff like this (see also my entry for Bergdorf Blondes) where I am in a mood to casually peruse the lifestyles of people who in real life I probably could not stand at all. Stephen Clarke has insanely aggressive and pointy muttonchops which are clearly connected to the point he makes about how being an expatriate Briton in Paris makes you feel emasculated. Anyhow, what I learned from this book is some French slang which I have already forgotten. It would have been coo [...]

  • Meg

    Oh dear.why do people who stereotype and don't know the country write about Franced then think that it is funny/cute to mock the country that they have decided to adopt? I don't get it. France can be criticizedbut make sure you know what you are talking about before you insult the place. AND please, your humor? Not funny. I only read this book because I wanted to find one endearing qualitydidn't find one. I found this book to be written by someone who doesn't really know the peopled Brit who mov [...]

  • Jennifer

    A friend, who is french, loaned this book to me since she knew I've enjoyed several trips to France. This book was a funny, light read about why the French are the way they are, like an older Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck book. It was enjoyable and I did actually laugh out loud in a few places. It's one of those books that you can easily pick up, read 2 pages, and put down again. And each chapter ends with a list of phrases in French that could come in handy. I honestly am thinking I should photoco [...]

  • Ellen

    Amusante.If his phonetic pronunciations are correct, I now know why my feeble attempts to speak French are met with kindness and the switch to English by the person to whom I am attempting to communicate.

  • Amanda

    Read this in a couple of hours because it was laying around the Loire Valley chateau we were staying in. Not funny and ironic that such judgements were coming from a Brit.

  • Phyllis

    Tongue in cheek advice for understanding the French by a Brit. Some parts are funny, the rest tedious.

  • Renie

    Ugh. Supposed to be funny. NOT.

  • Kim

    So true, and funnya little synical and outdated at times, but a pretty spot on British view of Frenchies, particularly Parisians!

  • Andy

    A very amusing thumbnail sketch of the French, particularly on manners, service, waiters, food, culture, sex. Dip in, but don't read it start to finish - in fact, my advice is to read the last half first! Bonne chance!

  • Igor Almeida

    A funny take on France's culture and people by a humorous British author. Unexpectedly accurate, but must not be taken too seriously.

  • Zehra

    I am a self confessed Clarke fan so can't be impartial. It's funny and I enjoyed it.

  • Rick

    This is a fun book good for night-time reading. I think I managed a chapter/commandment a night before falling asleep.

  • Iva

    I had so much fun with this book!

  • Miki Jacobs

    Laugh out loud funny!

  • Martin Willoughby

    A witty, and vital, introduction to France and the French.

  • Justine

    As a French girl, I really laughed reading how people who don't live in France see us! It was interesting and fun, and I learnt many things!! Will read other books by Stephen Clarke!

  • Ryan

    Stephen Clarke moved to Paris more than a decade ago from London, wrote a couple novels about France, and then decided to write a declarative book about how to understand the French: Talk to the Snail. This is a fine idea, and the book contains many fine ideas. Even some passable jokes and amusing observations. He was able to get a few positive French reviews, and does not appear to have been deported - so his largely mocking roast of French culture and social habits didn't cut too deeply or ina [...]

  • Veronica

    I was attracted to this book because I saw a translation of it for sale in a French bookshop. It must be more than a run-of-the-mill British book about how quaint/annoying/rude/hypocritical the French are, I thought. And it is; it's no masterpiece, but I enjoyed reading it. Some of the things he says are obvious to anyone who knows France well, and have been hashed out often enough before (for example the tips on how to get good service), but there are plenty of wry smiles of recognition. Comman [...]

  • Cristian Tudor

    A great book to help you see the french through an English man's eyes. It has a lot of humor, although it's not for everybody. I will give it a 5 without any hesitation

  • Issi

    A very easy, quick read, and funny for those who have experience of life in France (which, don't get me wrong, is wonderful with a capital 'W'). However, as we are culturally different, there are some things that surprise us 'Brits' in France. I loved his description of the Post Office, I could have written that; and the 35 hour work week. I especially liked this paragraph : ' Give a Frenchman a long weekend and he'll get into his French car, fill it with French petrol, drive to the French seasi [...]

  • Stephen Heiner

    Maybe it's just me, or maybe I'm just tired of Stephen Clarke. He's never caught up to his first book, and this 2006 effort, his 3rd, was just more of the same, but with even less of a punch. I found myself searching around for some good, funny, and true crumbs. Unlike his first two books, which are written in a narrative style, this proposes to be a sort of semi-serious guidebook to understanding the French. And like most Anglo efforts, it's halfway there, but in failing to delve deeply into th [...]

  • Alena

    Another supposedly funny book, and it actually was. I borrowed it from a co-worker, so I didn't want to keep it on the shelf for very long. I have read one other book by him (A Year in the Merde), which I enjoyed, so I gave it a shot.While the other one was fiction, this one is more of a survival guide to living in France and with the French. I don't know France other than from vacations and I work with someone from France, that's the extent of my knowledge about them. While I suspect greatly ex [...]

  • Kristine

    The moment I saw this on the bookstore, I instantly grabbed it! For one thing, it's about the French culture -- of course, I will get it being a French major in college. Eve if I did not like A Year in the Merde tha much, I am willing to give this a try.I am glad I did. This is so much different from the previous book. This, I think, is more accurate (though perhaps not everything here is true, I suppose) than AYITM. And the narration/exposition is not annoying unlike with the former. Okay, why [...]

  • JewelT

    I read the "Merde" series by Stephen Clarke, and also found this book enjoyable.It has been a while since I read it- so I might read it again.Even though the book- mocks the French, and helps explain some of their quirks, I found after reading this book, I admire the French more.I admire their Nationalism, their rudeness/politeness irony, their chutzpah in standing up for unjust working conditions, and I am envious of their Healthcare system, despite being socialistic in nature, it seems more we [...]