Print Posted By Lost in France on 2 Nov 2008 in Bookshop - Novels and Real Life Tales

I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do)

I'll never be FrenchTired 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 Greenside a native New Yorker living in California, doubting (not-as-trusting-as Thomas, downwardly mobile, political lefty, writer, and lifelong sceptic is dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finistere, "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 judgements, he places his trust in the villagers he encounters neighbours, workers, acquaintances and 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 chimney, in other words, learning the cultural ropes, living with neighbours, 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.

About the Author
Mark Greenside is the author of the short story collection I Saw a Man Hit His Wife. His stories have also appeared in several magazines, including The Sun, The Literary Review, and Cimarron Review. Greenside lives in Alameda, California, where he teaches and is politically active, as well as in Brittany, France, where, he says, he still can't do anything without asking for help.

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I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittanyalt

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