Every year upon arriving in Plobien, the small Breton town where he spends his summers, American writer Mark Greenside picks back up where he left off with his faux-pas–filled Francophile life. Mellowed and humbled, but not daunted (OK, slightly daunted), he faces imminent concerns: What does he cook for a French person? Who has the right-of-way when entering or exiting a roundabout? Where does he pay for a parking ticket? And most dauntingly of all, when can he touch the tomatoes?
Despite the two decades that have passed since Greenside’s snap decision to buy a house in Brittany and begin a bi-continental life, the quirks of French living still manage to confound him. Continuing the journey begun in his 2009 memoir about beginning life in France, (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living details Greenside’s daily adventures in his adopted French home, where the simplest tasks are never straightforward but always end in a great story. Through some hits and lots of misses, he learns the rules of engagement, how he gets what he needswhich is not necessarily what he thinks he wantsand how to be grateful and thankful when (especially when) he fails, which is more often than he can believe.
Introducing the English-speaking world to the region of Brittany in the tradition of Peter Mayle’s homage to Provence, Mark Greenside’s first book, I’ll Never Be French , continues to be among the bestselling books about the region today. Experienced Francophiles and armchair travelers alike will delight in this new chapter exploring the practical and philosophical questions of French life, vividly brought to life by Greenside’s humor and affection for his community.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Mark Greenside has been a civil rights activist, Vietnam War protestor, anti-draft counselor, Vista Volunteer, union leader, and college professor. His stories have appeared in The Sun, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, The Nebraska Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The New Laurel Review, Crosscurrents, Five Fingers Review, and The Long Story, as well as other journals and magazines, and he is the author of a short story collection, I Saw a Man Hit His Wife. Greenside’s memoir about life in France, I’ll Never Be French , remains one of the bestselling books about Brittany since its release in 2009. Greenside resides in Alameda, CA and Brittany, France.
Table of Contents
Driving (Me Nuts) 1
Shopping for … 53
Money, Money, Money, Money 99
I'm Eating What? 133
I Cooked This for You 163
A Hypochondriac's Delight 193
"Je Voudrais Une Con Avec Deux Boule …" 233
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's been about a decade since Greenside purchased his summer home in the Brittany area of France. This book, rather that being strictly chronological, hits a lot of the high points over the years as he navigates social niceties, finance, medical care, accidents and the like in his second home. I liked hearing about the people who have become his good friends and how now, after all this time, Madame P can be Yvonne.
Anyone who’s ever driven, eaten, shopped, or has been ill in France will recognize the authenticity of this screamingly funny book about trying to fit it, and almost—but not quite—succeeding. Reading this book on the subway in New York City presented a real challenge for me, as it made me laugh uncontrollably for cosiderably long stretches. Unlike the French, who will try not to notice if you are making a fool of yourself in public, New Yorkers will stare at you while trying to determine your sanity. At least, that’s the reaction I got as I tried to bury myself in the book while riding to my destination. A few times I had to close the book because there was no other way to stifle the laughter. This book is for anybody who is traveling to, has traveled to, or would like to travel to France. The book’s title is (not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living, but it becomes evident soon enough that Greenside has indeed (nearly) mastered it. What shines through the humor is the reverence Greenside has for the French and their customs. He pokes fun at them, but usually the tables turn and he ends up poking fun at himself, as when he shopped in the supermarket, refusing to use a cart because he thought it cost one euro to rent one. After much indignation and several futile attempts to devise alternative methods, he discovered the truth: you get your money back when you return the cart to the proper place. Greenside’s book is filled with hilarious anecdotes and wacky stories, all pointing to one thing: his love of France and his gratitude towards his French friends. I’ll probably read it again, or at least excerpts, before any trips I take to France in the future.