Touche: A Frenchwoman's Take on the English

Agnes Catherine Poirier, Author Orion Publishing Group, $19.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-297-85234-6
In this series of sharply written, often funny essays tackling the English-French divide, a number of cultural sticking-points are examined with equal measures of affection, bewilderment, frustration and envy. Fascinated by politics and culture clashes from an early age, journalist Poirier (raised in France, currently living in the UK) dispenses with a brief nod to civility (""British friends, never doubt the admiration you inspire"") before lighting into her neighbors across the channel with honesty and verve: disappointment with nearly-nonexistent public demonstrations (a staple of French life), disbelief at the British penchant for apology (which ""verges on hypocrisy""), and affront at the scant respect given artists (long revered in France). Class politics, the UK's cool attitude toward a united Europe and British men (gentlemen or thugs?) also take a few licks, though she applauds England's inroads to French-style Cafe society. Poirier's commentary is thoughtful and good-natured even while delivering some wicked lumps: on Brits' love of animals, she observes that the Royal Family, following the death of one of the Queen's corgis, ""hadn't displayed public grief like that since the Blitz."" Also included are strong opinions on Americans, love, small talk and, of course, food: ""My first step into the world of British chocolatier Cadbury felt like one of the best on-screen love scenes... played out in slow motion to the music of violins.""
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 170 pages - 978-0-7538-2170-1
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-297-85715-0
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