The engaging, funny and essential guide to communicating with the French.
Why do the French like talking about ‘the decline of France’? Why does broaching a subject like money end all discussion? Why do the French become so aroused debating the merits and qualities of their own language? Julie Barlow and Jean- Benoît Nadeau spent a decade travelling to and living in Paris. Yet one important lesson never seemed to sink in: how to converse comfortably with the French, even when you speak their language.
Through encounters with school principals, city-hall civil servants, old friends and business acquaintances during their time living in France with their twin daughters, Julie and Jean-Benoît explain why, culturally and historically, talking to the French is not about communicating or being nice. It's about being interesting.
After reading The Bonjour Effect, even readers with only a smattering of French will be able to hold their own the next time they are in a bistro on the Left Bank, on a wine tour in Bourdeaux or on a beach on the Côte d'Azur.
'The writing is as light as it is substantive, and if that sounds like a contradiction, I would refer you to a soufflé' The New York Times
'A fascinating, even valuable book, full of surprises' Daily Mail
'Fascinating and insightful' TLS
'French is not so much a language as a dance, a ritual, a code to be cracked. The Bonjour Effect cracks it' David Boyle, author of How to be English
'An indispensable linguistic roadmap. Highly enjoyable' Debra Ollivier, author Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl
'Whether you're an expat in France, or simply dream of living there one day, The Bonjour Effect is a helpful resource to cracking the arcane cultural code. Engaging [and] funny, filled with examples drawn from the authors' experiences, this is a guide to the most essential of French arts: conversation' Ann Mah, author of Mastering the Art of French Eating
'Fascinating and delightful work' TLS
‘An entertaining… riveting and edifying read which brings to light the extent to which, in navigating the seas of French conversation, we often steer into the wind without hoisting the sails… spiced with many superb fish-out-of-water anecdotes.’ Culturetheque