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Book Clubbing

Introduction

Almost French
by Sarah Turnbull

Title

Author

Sarah Turnbull

Sarah Turnbull

About the Book

Almost French is the charming true story of a spirited young woman who finds adventure and the love of her life in Paris. A delightful, fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor. Sarah Turnbull's stint in Paris was only supposed to last a week. Chance had brought Sarah and Fredric together in Bucharest, and on impulse she decided to take him up on his offer to visit him in the world's most romantic city. Almost French is an enthralling read as Sarah Turnbull leads us on a magical tour of this seductive place and culture that has captured her heart.

About the Author

Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer. Formerly a television journalist with SBS, she began working in print media after moving to France from Sydney. Since then she has been writing regularly for magazines ranging from The Australian Magazine to Australian Gourmet Traveler. In the 1998 MPA awards Sarah was named Feature Writer of the Year for three investigative stories published in Marie Claire. As a student at the Australian National University, she studied politics, Fine Art and French. Her book Almost French has been sold in the UK and the US and the feature film will be released in 2014. Her most recent book is All Good Things that follows her experiences in French Polynesia in 2003.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the fact that Frederic and Sarah speak different languages create misunderstandings, sometimes hilarious? Have you ever experienced this?
  2.  Seeing Frederic's apartment for the first time and sharing their first at-home dinner, Sarah Turnbull makes certain assumptions due to her own Australian culture. What does she later understand?
  3. How are Frederic's contradictions reflective of France?
  4. How is the author's visit to Paris to see Frederic different from her previous visits?
  5. What are the frustrations of speaking in a foreign language? Have you experienced this?
  6. The author tells us, "The biggest shock during these first months is how different France is from my romantic imaginings." How did Sarah Turnbull envision France and what does she conclude about the French?
  7. Why is it so difficult for Sarah Turnbull to adapt to French ways? Why does she feel invisible?
  8. What makes Paris so captivating according to Sarah Turnbull? What is a consequence of Paris's "pervasive beauty?"
  9. What makes Sarah Turnbull realize she'll never be French and never be fully integrated? Have you had a similar experience?
  10. How is Frederic's reaction to Australia different from what Sarah Turnbull expected? How are their roles reversed in Australia?