liz's Reviews > Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French

Talk to the Snail by Stephen Clarke
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Jun 04, 07

bookshelves: international, fun-slash-junk, non-fiction
Read in April, 2007

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 at least it's French merde. This too is in the dictionary. It's called l'exception française. Culture has to be good except if it's French. Zola, Matisse and co. must be turning in their graves. Voltaire would just giggle.

French court lawyers all look like abstract sculptors who have been practising on their own hair. They are often interviewed on TV about a case as their client enters or emerges from the courtroom, and they all look like the last person you would want to defend you in a court of law. Unshaven, vaguely psychopathic, totally untrustworthy.

And a personal favorite of mine: In France, the big handheld microphone is much more than a phallic symbol -- it is a badge that tells the viewer, 'I'm on TV and you're not, peasant.'
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message 1: by Jenny (last edited Jul 04, 2012 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenny I really enjoyed your review Liz, I love this book too & I LOVE France, although my OH always tries his best to put a stop to my undying affection for this wonderful country. I must've been French in a previous life.


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