Hello and Happy French Friday! Today’s post is dedicated to a feel-good read that is something I am sure we all need more of right now! Oliver Gee is the Australian journalist-turned-podcaster voice behind the successful The Earful Tower and Paris on Air is his first book (hopefully not his last!).
As an Australian who has lived in Paris (albeit a couple of decades before Oliver), I was naturally interested in hearing the full story (beyond what has been shared on social media and the podcast) so I was one of the Kickstarter backers to help the book get published. As someone who has written a book, I have deep admiration for someone who self-publishes and apparently so did the many other backers – the project met its goal amount in just three days!
I was thrilled when the finished e-book arrived just in time for me to fly home from Australia at the end of March (because when you have 21 hours in the air, you need a lot of reading matter!) and literally started and finished the book before we arrived in Vancouver! Oliver’s affable voice really comes across in his writing – he tells it like it is with humour and eloquence.
As someone who lived through moving to France (pre-Internet, even!), I know how challenging it can be to figure out life in France so I really appreciated the balance Oliver achieves as he tell of the trials and tribulations of life in a foreign country. Too often, books about ex-pat life gloss over the hard stuff and only focus on the good. Or, alternatively, come across as a huge complaint about how things are “different” (and therefore, not as good). Here, we come at all the difficulties and differences through the eyes of a laid-back Australian who seeks to understand the new country and its challenges and embrace them.
It’s a charming tale of “Aussie boy makes (really) good in Paris” and you’ll be cheering for him the whole way! I would have definitely read this in one sitting, even if I had not been on a plane. The fact that he starts halfway through the story (with a marriage proposal) means you can’t help but read the whole thing in one go! It’s a fast-paced tale and each chapter will have you wanting more!
For anyone who has wondered what it’s like moving to Paris, this is a great read. It must be noted that Oliver had a British passport (which used to make things much easier in terms of living and working in Europe), so that was a definite advantage in terms of getting work etc… He also had a few lucky breaks (with apartments, for example) but he has definitely done his time as “expat confounded by French bureaucracy” and if you’re contemplating a move, there is a lot of great information here (as well as on his blog). If you’re just an armchair traveller, this is also highly recommended (though warning, it might make you want to move to Paris!).
A delight to read, add this to your summer reading list!
(and don’t forget to follow the podcast too!)
Purchase Paris on Air here.
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