Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Outside reading Thumbs up!

This has nothing to so with Pi or VS. It DOES have to do with the book I need to finish before I can dive into the club reads. It's called A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke. It's the fictional tale of a Brit who goes to Paris to work with a dysfunctional French company. As the husband and I like to say around Casa Buffalo "stereotypes exist for a reason." This book is not politically correct nor is it pro-France, nor does Clarke wave his Freedom Fries. This particularly vivid passage about his Parisian neighbors had me in stitches:

I was also sick of my neighbors, as most Parisians are. I now knew every second of the morning routine of the family upstairs. At 7:00 a.m. alarm goes off, boom, Madame gets out of bed, puts on her deep-sea divers' boots, and stomps across my ceiling to megaphone the kids awake. The kids drop bags of cannonballs onto the floor, then, apparently dragging several sledgehammers each, stampede into the kitchen. They grab their chunks of baguette and go sit in front of the TV, which is always showing a cartoon about people who do nothing but scream at each other and explode. Every minute, one of the kids cartwheels (while bouncing cannonballs) back into the kitchen for seconds, then returns (bringing with it an excitable family of kangaroos) to the TV. Meanwhile, the toilet is flushed, on average, fifty times per drop of uring expelled. Finally, there is a ten minute period of intensive yelling, and at 8:15 on the dot they all howl and crash their way out of the apartment to school.

You've just made yourself a soothing cup of tea when Madame returns and gets her team of trained hippos to clean up the mess, clomping their hooves or whatever hippos have, in time to the nasal howl of some terminally lovesick French crooner. I once dared to go up and ask whether the hippos really needed to wear high heels indoors all the time, and a snooty woman in pearls slammed the door in my face.

I love this book.


4 comments:

Andie D. said...

GOOD to know! So need a new book. Or two, apparently. ;)

Is there going to be a vote on the first read?

IFLYG said...

Funny stuff - is the book a parody of "A Year in Provence"?

Kara said...

More like two sides of the same coin. When I read Provence, I wanted to buy a house in France and drink wine all day. After reading Merde I'm actually grateful for all the cutthroat capitalism over here.

Although I wouldn't mind better cheese. Just sayin'

Kristen said...

That was awesome - dammit. I'm already behind on reading Pi, and now I'm thinking I need this one, too.