A Year in Provence Paperback – Jun 4 1991
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Who hasn't dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.
Beginning, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day with a divine luncheon in a quaint restaurant, Mayle sets the scene and pits his British sensibilities against it. "We had talked about it during the long gray winters and the damp green summers," he writes, "looked with an addict's longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards, dreamed of being woken up by the sun slanting through the bedroom window." He describes in loving detail the charming, 200-year-old farmhouse at the base of the Lubéron Mountains, its thick stone walls and well-tended vines, its wine cave and wells, its shade trees and swimming pool--its lack of central heating. Indeed, not 10 pages into the book, reality comes crashing into conflict with the idyll when the Mistral, that frigid wind that ravages the Rhône valley in winter, cracks the pipes, rips tiles from the roof, and tears a window from its hinges. And that's just January.
In prose that skips along lightly, Mayle records the highlights of each month, from the aberration of snow in February and the algae-filled swimming pool of March through the tourist invasions and unpredictable renovations of the summer months to a quiet Christmas alone. Throughout the book, he paints colorful portraits of his neighbors, the Provençaux grocers and butchers and farmers who amuse, confuse, and befuddle him at every turn. A Year in Provence is part memoir, part homeowner's manual, part travelogue, and all charming fun. --L.A. Smith
From Publishers Weekly
An account of the author's first frustrating but enlightening year in Provence opens with a memorable New Year's lunch and closes with an impromptu Christmas dinner. "In nimble prose, Mayle . . . captures the humorous aspects of visits to markets, vineyards and goat races, and hunting for mushrooms," said PW. Author tour. Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The real characters are the locals, the workmen, the café owners, the neighbors, their quirky habits and the divine cuisine. Some of the anecdotes seem contrived or shifted in time to accommodate the structure of the book in chapters based on months, but I didn't care. I loved the descriptions of the food, the markets, the country roads, the truffle hunting...
I found the author's style of writing very charming, if somewhat impersonal, and the situations that would induce a working city woman like myself to explosive anger are injected with an innocuous sarcasm that just made me chuckle with laughter. Even though the author must deal with sporadic remodeling, a constant stream of uninvited English guests, the cleaning of the pool etc., Life is good. So don't worry. Eat, drink and be happy.
I read 2, 3 or 4 chapters at a time and I had no trouble putting it down. I even read another book after August and picked it up to read September after a particularly hectic day and I finished the book in that sitting. This was not a page-turner. But I enjoyed it anyway.Read more ›
Mayle's knowledge of the French countryside of Provence must be a non-fictional account for his portrayal is very accurate. He often intertwines colloquial french phrases and words to produce a real life effect. Very little dialogue is used but the story is descriptive and flowing with each incident told. Mayle employs the use of humor in his depiction of the Provencal inhabitants. He emphasizes the use of the Frenchmen's gestures when speaking and the importance of meals and relaxation.
This travel novel provides everything you need to know about the people and routines of Provence. A dream come true for the young couple and a year long adventure encompass this warm-hearted and delightful novel. "C'est la vie!" in Provence.
Most recent customer reviews
Love Peter Mayle's books. Charming stories, so well-written.Published 9 months ago by alison howell
After visiting Provence this September, I had to read this book describing the land, the way of life and all the zany but fascinating characters that lived in this area as... Read morePublished 15 months ago by glowbug
Such skill with words, the author took me there and thoroughly entertained me. Also made me hungry! A great story!Published 22 months ago by TA Smith
A lighthearted whimsical look at life in a wonderful place. Makes you want to go. An easy read but a great journey.Published on Jan. 27 2014 by JRM
I read this book before, during, and after we toured Provence and absolutely loved it. It's one of those books one keeps to read again when one feels nostalgic about this magical... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2013 by Elizabeth Waugh
Come on Amazon, $15.99 for the kindle edition? Are you serious????? We're talking about an electronic book here, no printing, no paper, no warehouse. Shamefull!Published on July 18 2013 by Amazon Customer