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And God Created the French
ISBN 1552070069 / 9781552070062 / 1-55207-006-9
Publisher Davies (Robert) Publishing,Canada
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Hailed by reviewers as a brilliantly insightful look at Parisians and France, this best-seller on two continents (80,000+ copies in print) by Montreal daily newspaper La Presse's Paris correspondent gives the reader a detailed view of how French society really works, with its hidden codes, unspoken rules, tribal loyalties and attachment to the past. French society's strange love-hate relationship with money, for example, which must be spent to excess but never, never discussed in public is revealed here, as is France's obsessive attraction to all things American, along with its simultaneous demonizing of all things...American. This a treasure trove of biting, satirical and bang-on pieces on anything and everything French from King Louis XIV to Charles de Gaulle, from EuroDisneyland to the French schizoid view of money, love and country, from Catherine Deneuve to François Mitterand describes a country of excesses and opposites, where the wine and olive oil culture from the South competes with the beer and butter culture from the North, where a monarchist movement is strong in the country that beheaded its last king, where classical music is adored but dreadfully composed, and where the art of brilliant conversation is taken to dizzying heights. France is a country, in sum, which might in fact be another planet, distant and obscure but absolutely mesmerizing. Few foreigners know France as well as Robitaille, who arrived in 1965 to become a novelist, and stayed as a reporter. He knows EVERYONE of importance in Paris and has interviewed hundreds of writers, actors, politicians and cafe owners in the course of his career. His interviews with Isabelle Adjani, Celine Dion, Mavis Gallant and many more make for page after page of fascinating reading. A new section on Americans in Paris has been added specially for this translation and the preface by Nouvel Observateur columnist Jean-François Kahn puts it all in perspective. The France-Inter radio network said, about this terrific page-turner of a read, it is clairvoyant, penetrating writing by a real journalist. [via]