The Merde Factor

The Merde Factor : (Paul West 5)

3.58 (502 ratings by Goodreads)
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Englishman Paul West is living the Parisian dream, and doing his best not to annoy the French. But recently things have been going tres wrong:

His apartment is so small that he has to cut his baguettes in two to fit them in the kitchen.
His research into authentic French cuisine is about to cause a national strike.
His Parisian business partner is determined to close their tea-room. And thinks that sexually harrassing his female employees is a basic human right.
And Paul's gorgeous ex-girlfriend seems to be stalking him.

Threatened with eviction, unemployment and bankrupcy, Paul realises that his personal merde factor is about to hit the fan...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 22mm | 405g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1780890338
  • 9781780890333
  • 367,276

Back cover copy


Bonjour from Paris,

And first of all a huge merci to everyone who has emailed me over the past couple of years asking when the next Merde novel was coming out. Here it is, and thanks for asking.
This time, I wanted to get Paul West back to Paris. I thought he was having it a bit too much of la belle vie on the south coast of France in Dial M for Merde. So now he's subletting a tiny top-floor garret, with no job and no love interest except an ex who seems to be stalking him.
To make things even more annoying for him, I decided it might be fun for him to try and become a civil servant, one of the chosen few of French society who, ever since they were created by Napoleon, have been ruling the country like so many mini-emperors.
I also owe a big vote of thanks to the man who nearly became the top civil servant of all – Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Because when the now-infamous French politician was arrested in New York in May 2011, I was battling with a dilemma. I wanted Paul West's former boss, the lecherous Jean-Marie, to get into trouble for sexually harassing one of Paul's friends. My problem was that, at the time, it wasn't the done thing for young women to complain when their boss, or indeed a famous politician, got busy with his wandering hands. They were meant to say "c'est la vie" and accept it as one of the privileges of French power. Then the New York police showed everyone how to deal with an allegation of sexual assault, and suddenly France changed. Almost overnight, it was credible for Jean-Marie's young employee to take her revenge, and my plot took off.
And finally, the biggest merci has to go to my fellow Parisians, for continuing to be as Parisian as ever. It doesn't matter how depressed they are about elections, Europe or who won the Tour de France, they're always supremely entertaining.
I hope The Merde Factor does them justice.

Stephen Clarke,

Paris, August 2012.
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Review Text

"This latest instalment in Stephen Clarke’s series based on Paul’s adventures is like a ‘pain au chocolat’ by the Seine — light, sweet and just a little bit naughty."
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Review quote

"Has done more for the Entente Cordiale than any of our politicians." * Daily Mail * "The tone is as ever gentle; the humour more hit than miss. It's lighter than a good millefeuille, and just as moreish." * Financial Times * "Edgier than Bryson, hits harder than Mayle." * The Times * "This latest instalment in Stephen Clarke's series based on Paul's adventures is like a `pain au chocolat' by the Seine - light, sweet and just a little bit naughty." * The Irish Examiner * "Must-have comedy-of-errors diary of being a Brit abroad." * Mirror *
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About Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke lives in Paris, where he divides his time between writing and not writing.

His Merde novels have been bestsellers all over the world, including France. His non-fiction books include Talk to the Snail, an insider's guide to understanding the French; How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), an amused look at France's continuing obsession with Napoleon; Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France, a biography of Edward VII; and 1000 Years of Annoying the French, which was a number one bestseller in Britain.

Research for The French Revolution and What Went Wrong took him deep into French archives in search of the actual words, thoughts and deeds of the revolutionaries and royalists of 1789. He has now re-emerged to ask modern Parisians why they have forgotten some of the true democratic heroes of the period, and opted to idolize certain maniacs.

Follow Stephen on @SClarkeWriter and
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Rating details

502 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 18% (90)
4 36% (181)
3 34% (173)
2 9% (47)
1 2% (11)
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