I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
Title: I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
Author: Mark Greenside
Author and teacher Mark Greenside recounts his struggles to fit into the life of a small Celtic village in Brittany.
Tired 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 skeptic—is dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France, in Finistère, “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 judgments, he places his trust in the villagers he encounters—neighbors, 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 neighbors, 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.