Jun 24, 2023

I'll Never Be French by Mark Greenside: Sunday Salon


Currently reading -

a book from my shelves that I rescued from my give away boxes. Why didn't I read this when I first got it? It's funny and informative, and very French!
 
Published: November 4, 2008; Atria
Genre: travel, memoir, nonfiction, humor, France

Mark Greenside and his girlfriend decide to live in a small French village in Brittany for about eight weeks. Mark fell in love with the place, the people, the customs, the food, and was encouraged by a neighbor to buy a house there. 

I'm enjoying his humor in telling the story of his growing love for Brittany and all things French, and the pitfalls of a foreigner trying to buy a home, open a bank account, and pay for a mortgage in France. 

I'm reading this in English, the author's language, but the memoir reminded me of the excellent French novels I've read over the years by mystery author, Michel Bussi. 

Here are a few I've read:


 

I finished a mystery set in Claude Monet's Givenchy, Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, February 7, 2017, Hachette. Translated from the French. I enjoyed it so much, I went on to read a previous novel of his, After the Crash, a mystery set in the Jura mountains of France.


My comments: After the Crash has an amazing plot. The only survivor in a horrific plane crash in the Jura mountains of France is a three-month-old baby girl. She was one of two baby girls of the same age on the plane, and none of the four parents survived the crash. 

There is no way to identify the baby, in the days before DNA testing was available. Two sets of grandparents claim her, the wealthy de Carvilles, and a working class family, the Vitrals.

The court awards the child to the Vitrals, but Mrs. de Carvilles hires a private detective to prove the baby Lyse-Rose is really hers, and not Emilie, the Vitrals's child. She gives the detective eighteen years to prove the case. The baby grows up to be called Lylie, a combination of both names, Lyse-Rose and Emilie, as neither family is one hundred percent sure who the child really is.

The book follows the two families and Lylie as she grows up, the story given in a detailed notebook written over eighteen years by the detective, Credule Grand-Duc. What he discovers after eighteen years is stunning. There are plot twists that makes riveting reading. I enjoyed it very much.










Black Water Lilies/Les Lympheas Noir by Michel Bussi, February 7, 2017, Hachette. Translated from the French.
Genre; mystery, crime novel

This is an unusual crime novel set in Giverny, France, the town made famous by the artist Claude Monet and his water lilies. The lives of an old woman,  an attractive young teacher, and an 11-year-old girl intertwine in a mystery involving art, artists, talent, Monet's water lilies, and romantic as well as an obsessive love that change their lives. 

I enjoyed the mystery as well as learned a lot about Monet and Giverny, and found interesting the rendition of how he created his famous water lily paintings. 

 

translated from the French





Don't Let Go/Ne lâche pas ma main by Michel Bussi
Published March 7, 2013. Pocket 
Genre; mystery, suspense, Reunion

It was challenging reading this in French, before the English edition was printed, but I enjoyed the suspenseful plot, the description of Reunion, a beautiful mountainous island in the Indian Ocean, and the main character, a gutsy young policewoman.

Publisher: On an idyllic resort on the island of Réunion, Parisians Martial and Liane Bellion are enjoying the perfect family moment with their six-year-old daughter....Then Liane Bellion disappears from her hotel room. Her husband Martial becomes a suspect when blood is found in the room. But then Martial also disappears, along with his daughter. An all-out manhunt is declared across the island. 

Just published: 


Trois Vies Par Semaine by Michel Bussi
Publication: March 2, 2023; Presses de la Cite
Language: French
Genre: thriller, mystery, France

About: the body of a man is recovered in the Ardennes,  his car containing three different passports suggesting he had three different aliases. The police must determine if his death was suicide, an accident, or murder and try to discover the truth behind his triple lives.  

What books are you reading? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

51 comments:

  1. The Bussi novels sound good, as does the Mark Greenside's memoir. It would be interesting to read about his experiences navigating life in France. I'm sure it would be a bit scary and exciting!

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  2. After the crash sounds really good and I'm not even a fan of mysteries. lol

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    1. The author is good at plot twists and surprises.

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  3. I would love to read about Brittany. It's an area I'm interested in and I haven't read much there as a setting.

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    1. Mont St. Michel, the twin to the monastery across the ocean in England, is the famous French landmark for me. I was lucky to visit it after college.

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  4. Mystica VarathapalanJune 25, 2023 at 3:50 AM

    It resonates with me,

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  5. I enjoyed I'll Never Be French, too. Greenside has just the right mix of enchantment and perplexity with the French that makes for a lovely story.

    I envy you your ability to read in French. I have only managed to do that once, with The Little Prince. Maybe I just need to try again.

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    1. My Kindle paperwhite has a French-English dictionary that is a great help with phrases and words. Not so much on my cell phone or on Kindle Fire.

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  6. I'm just about to finish one, so up next is 'Amazons - The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World' by John Man, then later in the week 'Ariadne' by Jennifer Saint.

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    1. Haven't read Ariadne. Hope it's as good as Circe was.

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    2. Review in about 2 weeks. It's my 1st Saint so I'm hoping its good. She's written a few more I think. There's *so* many books of this type out there its difficult to 'catch 'em all'!

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  7. Ooo I am adding I'll Never be French to my list!

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    1. It's really a fun book. He's very good at humor.

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  8. After the Crash sounds really interesting, adding to my TBR, thanks!

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  9. These look like some great books. I just picked up Black Water Lilies in my audible account. It sounds like a great read.

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    1. I'll bet the audio is riveting and suspenseful too.

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  10. I love the sound of Black Water Lilies as I'm a sucker for a well-crafted murder mystery and the idea of one set in such a famous place around a marvellous artist is very tempting:)). Thank you for sharing!

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  11. The first one sounds good! Black Water Lilies has an awesome cover! Thanks for sharing these!
    Lisa Loves Literature

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  12. I'll Never Be French does sound like a very fun travel memoir; they're some of my favorite books to read because they let me travel vicariously when I'm stuck at home. :D

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  13. I really enjoy a good travel memoir and I'll Never Be French sounds like fun!

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    1. He had me smiling at his good natured humor.

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  14. Wow After the Crash sounds good and worrying. Thank goodness things could be verified with a DNA test now as it would be hard not to know the truth.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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  15. I’ve read a couple of those books by Bussi, and thought they were ok,not fabulous. I think there are too many books about Americans (or Brits) who move to a French village and then find out about French bureaucracy and other French habits. It’s almost a genre. (Sometimes it’s Italy not France, but same thing). I’m glad to hear you did find something to like about this one.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Travel memoirs about France - this guy is good because of his unique take on the French and his rich humor.

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  16. I love the sound of that nonfiction title you start off with, and appreciate you highlighting Michel Bussi, an author I was unaware of. The plots you describe are intriguing - and the setting is the icing on the cake. I'm going to have to see what I can find at my library.

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    1. Glad to introduce you to Bussi, who's also a geography professor in France.

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  17. I'll Never Be French looks so good, as do all of your books. Have a great week of reading! Here's my SP: https://bonniereadsandwrites.com/2023/06/25/sunday-post-lots-of-cabbage/

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  18. The French memoir sounds fun. It reminds me of a series of books by Karen Wheeler called Tout Sweet. She moved to France as well and had some funny experiences. Thx for letting me know about this one by Mark Greenside.

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  19. I love the cover for the French memoir! I've watched Samantha Brown in Passport to Europe and her other traveling shows over the years and she featured Brittany. I've always wanted to go after seeing it. I can imagine visiting and trying to live there are two completely different experiences. The Bussi mysteries sound like ones I'd enjoy! After the Crash sounds harrowing!

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  20. I'll Never be French has a nice cover and I'm glad you liked it. After the Crash does sound interesting. Have a good week and Happy Reading!

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  21. What a great list of books this week. I'll Never Be French sounds fabulous. Hope you have a wonderful week.

    https://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2023/06/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-and_25.html

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  22. After the Crash sounds like a book I'd love, thanks for putting it on my radar:-)

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  23. I think I've only read one book by Michel Bussi. I'll Never be French sounds like a fun read.

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  24. These books sound like a splendid way to visit France through reading.

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  25. The Greenside book sounds like such an entertaining memoir!

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  26. Now I am really curious: how does this book remind you of Bussi's?
    I am a huge fan of Bussi, I have read/listened to all his books except 2.
    I'm fortunate to be French!
    YES, his plots are A-MA-ZING!
    have you tried his YA novels? I rarely read YA, but oh wow his N.E.O. series is so good. Oh looks like volume 1 exists only in French and Italian!!
    He has also tried scifi, so good too, alas La nouvelle babel doesn't seem to exist in English either!! so sad

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    1. I read in French too and reread the English later to see what I missed. I love the unexpected twists in his plots.

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    2. Oh good, I forgot you can read in French. Yes, he is realy amazing. Have you read his latest yet? Not me, but looking forward to it

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    3. Just bought it. Hope I’ll have time to read it soon, in French.

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  27. I actually read After The Crash many years ago, and I remember really enjoying it too. I need to read more of his books!

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    1. I read several of his books years ago and am just now rereading and enjoying them all over again!

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  28. Thanks for leaving a link on my Red, White and Blue post. This would be a great addition to that. I have read several books about expats in France and most of them were quite interesting. Never heard of this one but it sounds very interesting.

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  29. The French book sounds fun.

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I appreciate your comments and thoughts...

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