50 Reasons to Hate the French

Alexander Waugh in Literary Review:

These are the words I wrote down in my little blue book when I first read 50 Reasons to Hate the French in proof back in July of this year:

As a congenital Francophile, weaned from my cradle on the great cheeses of Normandy and the rich clarets of the Médoc; as someone for whom the glories of French culture, fashion and landscape have provided the keenest sensations of adolescence; as a grown man whose very fibre has, at times, fallen, prostrate, before the altars of all French people, places and things, I am greatly encouraged by the publication of this book. Eden and Clarke’s inspired new gospel (which I read on a flight to Damascus) has cleared my head of all those erring passions and revealed to me the true darkness lurking behind all that fake accordion music and garlic. So verily, verily say I now unto you, the French are a vicious, absurd and inadequate people and I very much hope that this super book of proofs to that effect will succeed in one day drubbing their whole abominable nation right off the face of our lovely planet.

For three months I have been without a copy as I sent mine to my brother who runs a Marmite and Stilton emporium in the magnificent chalk-white market town of Saintes on the banks of the river Charente. In the time it has taken him to respond I have finished off at least a case of Château Talbot 2002 (too young? I think not); I’ve eaten three goose necks stuffed with foie gras brought to me by a pilgrim from Castelnaudary, and God knows how many Crotin de Chavignol; I’ve collapsed in tears of laughter at a cinematic farce called Le Dîner de cons and have spent nearly every moment of my free time practising Ravel’s Concerto pour la main gauche on the piano. Needless to say, after all these infusions, my feelings for the French have reverted to their pristine state of amorousness, which is why (alarmed only by apparent gullibility) I seized on the opportunity offered by Literary Review to take a second look.

More here.