What Book to Read in France

Jun 11th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Sorry about that; I just put in "Clochemerle" and you probably put in "Chevalier, Gabriel" AND "Clochemerle".

Some of these people really aren't too particular about spelling...



should bring you to Arundel Books in Seattle that has paperback copies of "Clochemerle" and "The Scandals of Clochemerle" by Gabriel Chevellier [sic] for sale at US $ 2.95 each.
Eloise is offline  
Jun 11th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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There's what seems to be a better copy of "Clochemerle" at


P.S. The two books with different titles at Arundel come from different publishers; I'm not familiar with the books, so I can't say whether it might not be the same book under two titles. There does seem to have been a series of "Clochemerle" books, though...
Eloise is offline  
Jun 11th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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"Almost French" by Sarah Turnbull
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jun 11th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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Cigalechanta: I hadn't realized that Clochemerle and Clochemerle Babylon were currently out of print. However, you might try your local library. Mine has copies of both, as well as Clochemerle les Bains, and The Scandals of Clochemerle. My copies were published by Penguin, and they deserve to be reprinted.
laverendrye is offline  
Jun 11th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Lavender and Eloise, thank you both. I ordered the better copy hoping it is in English, the last time it arrived in German from Abe. The Scandel I ordered also. Many years ago while stayoing in the Auverge at the beautiful Magnolia we met an Englishman and his girlfriend. We ended up after dinner sharing wines we all bought and talking books. He said this was a book for me and ever since have been loooking for a copy in English. Have you read "The Horse of Pride?" Another good book.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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I can second the recommendation for the "Tides of Mt San Michel" by Roger Vercel" who has written at least one other book (I think more) set in that area. "Tides" is a very moody book, very 1940/1950 in feel. [Gee it's hard to think about this with a couple of dogs cowering around my ankles and 4th of July Fireworks going on outside].

Leaving Normandy:

I'm not a Mayle fan - he seems to make most of the French a bit too "cute" for me, but I will read him for a French fix if there is nothing else around.

Did like "Murder in the Marais" but not as fond of "Murder in Belleville". Still, I'm giving her newer ones a try - but buying them used on Amazon.

I don't know if anyone mentioned the 1400-1600 medieval romancer Dorothy Dunnett (recently lost to us) with her two 6-volume series. She does manage to set portions of each in France and it is to her "chase scene" that I owe my entertaining afternoon looking for traboules in Lyon. These are historical romances with some heft to them, at 600-700 pages each, and with clever bantering characters who sometimes (more often than I like to admit) left me trailing behind. And I guess I should mention the pages of geneology and "who is real and who isn't" lists in each book.

"The Chateau" by William Maxwell.

"Citizens" by Simon Schama.

Yes, I liked "Paris to the Moon" (Golpnik?) as well.

I thought the Durrell book, "Caesar's Whatever" was a bit thin. (I loved the "Quartet") but there is a collection of his writing - "Spirit of Place" that is primarily Mediterranean and includes Southern France. It is letters and miscellany, and I preferred it to "Caesar". [When I checked "Caesar" out of the library ages ago, it was a large book filled with big photographs and the text seemed to me to be almost incidental - but this is an old, unreliable memory. I checked it out of the same library that had "Spirit of Place", and in my mind it suffered by comparison].

Yes to "Dream of Scipio" by Pears, although I do not care for his Italian detective series. An enthusiastic yes to the writings of Japrisot. And another to Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror". Also, if anyone is interested in the Cathars in southern France, Zoe Oldenbourg has written a couple of books.

Many thanks to everyone who has posted, as they have added to my long long list of books I have yet to read on France. Right now I am starting "Paris, Biography of a City" and am enjoying it. Which is to say that I am learning things I didn't know and the process is not too painful.
portafoy is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Underhill and all, so The Tides of Mont St. Michel is worth a read? I just bought an old, used copy online and was thinking of beginning it. Has anyone on this thread mentioned Old Bones, the mystery set in the same area?
grandmere is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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I read Old Bones and thought it was okay, but I like atmosphere and texture, and not many chain mystery writers really do that particularly well. I wouldn't say it had much real French feel to it.

My copy of "Tides of Mont St.Michel" was also from an old book store, bought a long time ago. I found the book gripping and atmospheric, and I found myself casting it mentally with actors from the 1950's. Dark haired unhappy actors. It is a book of a certain period. It has a sort of du Maurier or a Rumer Godden (Black Narcissus) feel to it.

portafoy is offline  

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