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Book Title: The Secret Life of France|
The author of the book: Lucy Wadham
Edition: Faber and Faber
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 863 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: 2009
ISBN 13: 9780571236114
Loaded: 2604 times
Reader ratings: 3.9
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How refreshing it is to read an account of France and the French that hasn't resorted to the usual "hilarious" micky-taking of every stereotype you can think of.
I am a huge Francophile and am about to embark on my 8th trip in the next few months so I was looking forward to reading this. The book is written by a Brit who has lived in France for over 20 years, was married to a French man and has two children who have always considered themselves French rather than dual-nationality, so she's pretty well placed to make fair and frank comments about both the French and the Brits and all our differences without resorting to cliches and poking fun.
Wadham, if telling about a certain aspect of French behaviour, always tries to back it up with historical facts of why that may be (the revolution, catholicism, a national love of and belief in Freud for example) which did cause a few "aha" moments. What I also liked was the way she explains our British behaviour in comparison and the reasons why the French see us the way they do: we dress badly and have a culture of ladettes and drunkeness but they have a great affection for our eccentricity and sense of humour.
There were some eye-openers too, particularly when it comes to extra-marital relations and racism. I also now know why those "rude" Parisian waiters behave the way they do too. While I come from a nation of manners, politeness and overusing the words please and thankyou in resturants, for the French the role of waitor is held in icredibly high esteem and expressing gratitude is seen as us looking down on their profession. Now I know to look down, not up and say simply "onion soup and red wine". Simple!
My only slight grumble about this book is that it sometimes appeared as though it was hopping back and forth between times or themes. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it a refreshing and convincing portrayal of one of our closest neighbours.
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Read information about the authorLucy Wadham is a British writer of crime and thriller novels, but her most widely reviewed work is her autobiographical account of her life in France.
Wadham was born in London in 1964 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. She has worked as a news assistant at the BBC Paris bureau since 1989. She is currently a freelance journalist and regularly contributes to The Independent, The Spectator, and The New Statesman. She lives in France with her four children.
Her first novel, 'Lost' (2000), a thriller set on Corsica was shortlisted for the Macallan Gold Dagger Award. The second novel, 'Castro's Dream' (2003), about the Basque terrorist movement, ETA is set in the Basque Country. Her latest book, 'The Secret Life of France,' is an autobiographical account of her life in France. She writes a regular blog on the same theme under the same name
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