From Free Press:
Tired of Provence in books, cuisine, and tablecloths? Exhausted from
your armchair travels to Paris? Despairing of ever finding a place that
speaks to you beyond reason? You are ripe for a journey to Brittany, where
author Mark Greenside reluctantly travels, eats of the crêpes, and
finds a second life.
When Mark Greensidea native New Yorker living in California, doubting
(not-as-trusting-as) Thomas, downwardly mobile, political lefty, writer,
and lifelong skepticis dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic
village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finistère,
"the end of the world," his life begins to change.
In a playful, headlong style, and with enormous affection for the Bretons,
Greenside tells how he makes a life for himself in a country where he
doesn't speak the language or know how things are done. Against his personal
inclinations and better judgments, he places his trust in the villagers
he encountersneighbors, workers, acquaintancesand is consistently
won over and surprised as he manages and survives day-to-day trials: from
opening a bank account and buying a house to removing a beehive from the
chimneyin other words, learning the cultural ropes, living with
neighbors, and making new friends.
I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do) is a beginning and a
homecoming for Greenside, as his father's family emigrated from France.
It is a memoir about fitting in, not standing out; being part of something
larger, not being separate from it; following, not leading. It explores
the joys and adventures of living a double life.
Diane Johnson, author of L'Affaire,
Le Mariage, and Le Divorce
"One of the nicest of the trillions of books about France."
Lydia Davis, author of Varieties
of Disturbance: Stories and translator of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel
"This tale of how one man accidentally becomes a thoroughly integrated
member of a French village is funny, insightful, and winningly self-deprecatory.
(My favorite character may be the nervous insurance agent.) And Mark Greenside's
version of rudimentary spoken French is actually a good demonstration
of how to communicate in a language you don't know!"
Michael Sanders, author of From Here,
You Can't See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and Its Restaurant
"A light, lighthearted, occasionally very funny romp through a region
of France not well represented in the travel literature. With his fresh
eye and self-deprecating wit, Greenside sketches a wry, cautionary tale
for all those of us who are tempted by adventures in foreign real estate."
Richard Goodman, author of French
Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France
"Mark Greenside has written a sweet, evocative book about the pleasures
and perplexities of buying and owning a house in a small town in France.
It's a funny, enlightening journey. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip."