Mstation Book Reviews
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Wed, 01 Oct 2008

Le Dossier

trans Sarah Long, Le Dossier How to Survive the English, John Murray

If you're in the mood for a bit of English bashing this could be just the thing but it will give absolutely no joy at all to the likes of Aussie Pommy haters as it will mostly be incomprehensible.

The reason being that the viewpoint is from a Parisian female of supposedly huge brain and with an extremely privileged background - or so the story goes. There's actually a fair chance that this character is made up, but never mind. In any case, the viewpoint is lofty enough to resemble a caricature French person but this is part of the fun.

All the usual culprits get a serve - women's looks and dress (actually, everyone's dress), the manners, the food, the shops (interesting statistic in the book is that 80% of English food is bought in supermarkets whereas the figure for France is 5%), the health system (catch Eurostar home!), the ways of English sex (basic, brutish, and short) which is blamed on Protestants, and of course, there's more, more, more.

It is quite fun and I imagine will be read mostly by English people. (Baron K)

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