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
'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
‘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
'An indispensable linguistic roadmap. A highly enjoyable romp through French culture and its language, written with wit and aplomb'
'Whether 'bonjour' is the beginning or the end of your French vocabulary, you'll find something fascinating, surprising, or just plain fou on nearly every page. Before reading this invaluable codebook to French language and culture, I feared that I'd somehow insulted every French waiter, shopkeeper, and clerk between Paris and Nice. Now I know I did, but at least I know why!'
'The ability to speak French doesn't mean you know how to have a conversation in French in France. Journalists Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau break down the 'rules' of French conversation in their new book The Bonjour Effect'
'A lively and informative description of the country's cultural habits...'
'Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau unravel the mysteries of French conversation. They take readers beyond what the French are actually saying to explain what it is they really mean'
'Packed with fascinating insights'