Antimedia

While I was not blogging

Posted in Uncategorized by Deputy city editor on July 11, 2016

I wrote this.

book cover

Here is what some people have said about it on Amazon:

Simply the best book about the malaise that is modern France.

I read it while staying in Provence and it told me, for the first time, why the queues are so long in French supermarkets (they can’t afford to hire more workers thanks to French labour law).

Funny, waspish, lucid, clever, and definitely enlightening. Voltaire would approve.

A real laugh and so true!
Very enjoyable and, in my view, pretty well spot on opinions of much of French life. Much as I like France and the French, I agree with much of the authors comments and he too clearly loves France. I don’t know whether this book was proof read before publishing – I would hope so – but in the Kindle edition at least I don’t think I have ever seen so many typos in one book, and I’m only at the chapter on the letter C. Sloppy publishing, but a worthwhile read for those who know France.

Having read many books and textbooks on French culture, this one is unique and extremely valuable to anyone who is remotely interested in the language and the culture of the country.

It brings the French and France to the 21st century in a colourful manner. The author obviously loves the country and its people. With humour, he compiles and explores what makes and fails France. France, a nation on the verge of a breakdown is an essential read to anyone who has any interest on what makes the French so French. The selection of themes is very relevant to modern France. From an existentialist perspective, “un pays est la somme de ses actes” (a country is the sum of its action). This book highlights a few of its most significant actions, characteristics and key actors who have influenced its history. I have included this dictionary in my reading lists at the University of Surrey and have recommended it to many other Francophiles and French friends who will enjoy reading it, not only because it is funny and outrageous but because also because it has the potential to make them revisit their history through the author’s and the Anglo-Saxon’s eyes.

Enjoyable insight into modern French society is highly recommended for anyone seeking private or professional bonds with the French.

It is seriously enlightening, explaining and putting into context what is for the outsider so often irrational behaviour. La grande nation, that sadly isn’t so grand at all anymore, without even realising. It has seriously helped me to understand many things that I have so far struggled with. The dictionary style makes it easy to read in short sessions – and easier to digest and reflect upon.
Unfortunately, the ones who should read it the most, the French, won’t. Misinterpreting it as french bashing and therefore dismissing it, instead of seeing the constructive criticism it provides, given by someone who seems to genuinely care for the country and has not yet given up hope completely.
Written by a Brit it cannot deny it’s Anglo-Saxon perspective completely, Nevertheless I would recommend it to anyone interested in the French , as it will truly help to understand better.

This book is indispensable for Francophiles, students of Modern Languages, Political Economy, expats, students of EU and its politics, European socialism, and so on.

It is not a travel guide although it is travel writing. As other 5* reviewers have said, the author carries this off wittily and with great authority. He lives in a large village in one of the poorest of departments (l’Herault), and is an elected member of the local council. A great strength of the book is that the author writes in the first person. This gives an immediacy to the narrative. It is essential to have some familiarity with France and the French and a little French history to get the best out of this book. (Putting that point another way, if someone were to give me a similar book on Germany or Spain I would not get much out of it.) You will laugh all the way through, and learn a great deal. Tell you what: this book has made me think, for the first time, that maybe the UK should not waste any more time with the EU. Take a look and see what you think about that. Good for Francophiles and Europhobes in equal measure. By the way, it is arranged as a dictionary, and the style works really well. I hope I have persuaded you!

This is the perfect book for November in the UK.

It’s full of perspicacious insights into French life, written in a very humorous style and in a format which is ideal for bedtime or train journeys: you can never lose your place. I thought I knew a lot about France, but Jonathan Miller has filled his book with interesting facts linked with witty comments. Anyone who has spent time in France will appreciate this book, and even if they do not always agree with the author’s views, they will learn great deal and laugh a lot.
Comment|Was this review helpful to you?

A good book with some witty insights into aspects of a large and complex country.

Mr Miller has a perhaps unique experience of France as an Anglo-Saxon elected to French office, and is able to convey it with flair.
Having read many books and textbooks on French culture, this one is unique and extremely valuable to anyone who is remotely interested in the language and the culture of the country. It brings the French and France to the 21st century in a colourful manner. The author obviously loves the country and its people. With humour, he compiles and explores what makes and fails France. France, a nation on the verge of a breakdown is an essential read to anyone who has any interest on what makes the French so French. The selection of themes is very relevant to modern France. From an existentialist perspective, “un pays est la somme de ses actes” (a country is the sum of its action). This book highlights a few of its most significant actions, characteristics and key actors who have influenced its history. I have included this dictionary in my reading lists at the University of Surrey and have recommended it to many other Francophiles and French friends who will enjoy reading it, not only because it is funny and outrageous but because also because it has the potential to make them revisit their history through the author’s and the Anglo-Saxon’s eyes.

You might buy this book because you want a good laugh at the French, and it certainly works on that level.

But, truth be told, this is really an essential guide to French life and the most honest one I have ever come across.

So much of the inexplicable is explained here. Now I understand why the shops are mysteriously closed on any given day and why nobody seems keen to run an efficient business. I had wondered why the food was so surprisingly bad, now I know. This also clears up the mystery of just who are all those drunken guys with guns menacingly staring at me from beside the road. Read the book and find out.

Aside from the expats, this book is largely wasted on an English-speaking market. Home truths like these deserve a French edition.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: