giovedì 28 novembre 2013

Books for travellers: France (mark: 8.5 out of 10)

Books for travellers

The Secret Life of France by Lucy Wadham

A little pedant, a little too keen in describing French particularities like Catholics heritage. Apart from that, this book is the most informative about French culture. I would recommend anyone interested in moving to France to read it.
Even if the last part is a bit boring and unsupported by facts, the author is able to depict clearly and barely the French/Paris way of living. For the first time someone was able to clarify all the contradictions of this country, while in the past I was struggling to reconcile the contrasting accounts I was hearing.
It's illuminating. (Maybe, the author forgets to depict why she love France, while the account of the French "faults" is accurate). Never mind, all the hindsights the book contains redempts it.

I'm shocked: she is so straight in describing the society, beyond the content is so straight: the bare truth is unveiled, and the truth is never pleasant.
No news, France/Paris is similar to Piedmont. But by showing how much extreme is the French culture, I'm scared by both what is exactly the same and what is different from my own personal culture.
I'm reading accounts similar to the ones of other books I've read about France, but the way she explain and motivate the cultural aspects is scaring: how can I cope with them?
While the other books were presenting every cultural clash in their context, in their particular setting, and somehow hinting to the possibility of overcome these differences, no matter how hearth breaking was the experience; instead this book, while still describing the contingent episodes, is exposing the cultural clashes in such a way that it makes me feel like impossible to be able to share, not even enjoying, life with French people.

Almost French by by Sarah Turnbull

Telling her experience, I could have a precise hindsight about:

  • how Paris is
  • how French people is
  • how Australian people is
  • how the expat life in a country where people doesn't speak English is
I suggest this book for the deep and touching descriptions of what does living abroad mean and which emotions it involves. It provides lots of concrete information about Paris and France, beyond that you can recognize how good the author was at expressing her feelings, her difficulties, her gleeful moments, which are very common among people living away from home. After having read the book, I can read a couple of sentences and I can remember what she was describing in that chapter, because the way the author is able to write makes easier to remember the situation.
Really, the human aspect of the experience is at the centre of the book, even if she is describing lots of everyday events aiming to describe Paris and France.
It's definitely a book who is helping me to understand my life experiences (I've been living away from my home city for 6 years now) and to find answers about where I want to live.

p.s. Plans to move to London? Spend 1 minute on successful move to london

You can find the same reviews and others more in this blog about expat life

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