The New York Times
Town Like Paris: Falling in Love in the City of Lightby Bryce Corbett
At the age of twenty-eight, stuck in a dead-end job in London, and on the run from a broken heart, Bryce Corbett takes a job in Paris, home of l’amour and la vie boheme; he is determined to make the city his own—no matter how many bottles of Bordeaux it takes. He rents an apartment in Le Marais, the heart of the city’s gay district,/i>/i>… See more details below
At the age of twenty-eight, stuck in a dead-end job in London, and on the run from a broken heart, Bryce Corbett takes a job in Paris, home of l’amour and la vie boheme; he is determined to make the city his own—no matter how many bottles of Bordeaux it takes. He rents an apartment in Le Marais, the heart of the city’s gay district, hardly the ideal place for a guy hoping to woo French women. He quickly settles into the French work/life balance with its mandatory lunch hour and six weeks of paid vacation. Fully embracing his newfound culture, Corbett frequents smoky cafes, appears on a television game show, hobnobs with celebrities at Cannes, and attempts to parse the nuances behind French politics and why French women really don’t get fat. When he falls in love with a Parisian showgirl, he realizes that his adopted city has become home.
As lively and winning as Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence and Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French, A Town Like Paris evokes the beauty, delights, and charms of Paris for an ever-eager audience of armchair travelers.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The New York Times
Australian journalist Corbett offers a humorous and vivid account of his love affair with Paris. In an attempt to save his nine-year relationship with his high school sweetheart, Corbett follows her from Sydney to London. His efforts prove ineffectual and the two break up within weeks of his arrival. On a whim, 28-year-old Corbett applies for the position as head of public relations for a government organization based in Paris. Although he has little PR experience-or interest in the job itself-he is offered and accepts the position, living the French belief that people should work to live and not live to work. Corbett balances his boring formal office life with various exploits involving nightly debauchery. As an expatriate, his experiences with the French government, the French Plumber's Union and the various crazies who make up his Le Marais neighborhood are entertaining. As Corbett adjusts to the city-language barrier and cultural differences included-he makes friends, enjoys the food and eventually falls in love with a woman named Shay. Corbett's comically insightful observations of the French, along with his Aussie interpretations of joie de vivre, make for an amusing memoir. (Apr.)Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Almost on a whim, Corbett, an Australian working in London for Sky News, answers a job posting for a director of communications at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. To his surprise, he gets the job. So he moves to Paris, where he spends the next few years working a little, partying a lot, playing in a locally successful rock band, traveling, hanging out with showgirls and other ex-pats, and coping with French bureaucracy. Although this is not a guide, anyone attracted to working in Paris will be interested in Corbett's sketches of finding an apartment, French work life (short days, long employer-paid lunches, numerous holidays), scooter riding in heavy traffic, odd medical care, and the revelation that all French women are thin and stylish and all French men are short, smelly, and unattractive. That last observation notwithstanding, Corbett opines that French women are really all thin because of the nervous energy they expend worrying that their husbands are cheating on them. After six years, Corbett finds himself caught between Paris and Australia, not really belonging to either yet needing both. This memoir by a carousing Aussie ex-pat is entertaining, but less partying may have led to more insight. Recommended for larger public libraries.
‘Fast-paced and amusing, told with rollicking good humor . . . Corbett writes wittily and accurately about Paris, not glossing over the rough patches and the mysteries.”--Sun Herald
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