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A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City

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And - it was heartening to see that, in spite of the backbreaking labour, the often inhuman working conditions and a myriad of other challenges, that Edward Chisholm still manages see and appreciate the transcendent shimmer of Paris.

Over the last eight months, as I’ve disappeared into the world of waiting, I’ve lost contact with people outside of it. If you’ve ever carried plates in a restaurant, you will love it, and if you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, especially a Parisian one, you need to read this book. The publisher's marketing efforts would have you believe this to be a dry commentary on class struggle with some culinary drama in the background, but we soon find that the events of this memoir take place in 2012 (so virtually a different world to the one we live in now) and Chisholm is desperately unable to capture any of the nuance in his living conditions as a Parisian bistro's low ranking waiter. The beauty of Paris is stripped, yet miraculously upheld, as I descended into Chisholm’s engrossing account of a Paris I’d never imagined. This is more a memoir of the author as a young man -- twenty something, an aspiring journalist with no gritty life experience to reveal.Edward Chisholm's spellbinding memoir of his time as a Parisian waiter takes you below the surface of one of the most iconic cities in the world and right into its glorious underbelly. Edward Chisholm was born in England and moved to Paris after graduating from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Chisholm’s fortitude in the face of hot-headed, violent chefs and infernal fourteen-hour days without breaks in pursuit of his goal is admirable, and makes for compelling reading.

As he observes, “Slice a Parisian bistro in half and you a startlingly accurate cross-section of contemporary French society.Newly single, non-French speaking, he is desperate for work, and running out of everything necessary to live in Paris: money. I remember going to an excellent traditional restaurant on the Blvd Saint Germain for Sunday lunch and as I was a good tipper and easy to deal with I was moved from rang to rang on each different Sunday by the lady owner so that as many waiters as possible got a decent tip. He inhabits a world of inhuman hours, snatched sleep and dive bars; scraping by on coffee, bread and cigarettes, often under sadistic managers, with a wage so low you're fighting your colleagues for tips.

Paris has not changed since its days of crooked alleyways leading to miserable kitchens and despondent chefs.They have gathered together in Paris at Le Bistrot de la Seine from many corners and cultures of the world. Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual. EDWARD CHISHOLM was born in Dorset, England, and moved to Paris in 2012 after graduating from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward Chisholm will be published in North America on August 9, 2022 by Pegasus Books, and in the United Kingdom by Monoray on May 5, 2022, and is represented by William Clark in association with Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown.

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