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Under the Tuscan Sun Paperback – Sep 2 1997


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Under the Tuscan Sun + Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy + Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767900383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767900386
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 8.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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I AM ABOUT TO BUY A HOUSE IN A FOREIGN country. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1 1998
Format: Paperback
The reader-reviewers from Pennsylvania and Cambridge (above) reflect my impressions exactly. If you want to get to know Italians and Italy (short of spending a very long time there), read Tim Parks, Barbara Grizzutti Harrison, E. M. Forster. If you want recipes, read Marcella Hazen. If you want to read a really delightful travel memoir, read At Home in France, by Anne Barry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10 1998
Format: Hardcover
I found this book tedious. Perhaps more work should have been done rather than simply copy the author's scrapbook memoirs into book form. Not enough care was taken in the organization of the text. In addition, the workers and their names, the contractors, those that did the work, and those that applied for the work, they're ALL there and are taking up too much space and time for no reason. Some are such unnecessary characters. So a contractor seemed to be charming, but she didn't hire him... I feel like the author would list everyone she met in the street if she only had their names in her scrapbook. Why was this book on the bestseller lists?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Craffen on Sept. 26 2003
Format: Paperback
Frances doesn't belong in the country I recognize. She is extremely patronizing toward Italians and appears to be a spolied rich girl. Who is Ed? Is he her boyfriend; future spouse; current beau?
She makes it seem all of if all of us can simply purchase a home in Tuscany. It is second nature! We all have off four months a year We were all left huge inheritances. Frankly after reading this book I can't stand the woman. She is also quite condescending toward Italians (my heritage) and Ed. It's all about Frances and her petty problems.
I can't believe they made a bogus movie based (losely) on this book.
Please visit Tuscany and you will see it's different that this self-indulgent tripe.
By the way we visited Cortona and spit at her house!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. G. Williford on Nov. 18 2003
Format: Paperback
All this book did for me was make me hungry. The author incorrectly categorized this piece as fiction and literature, when in fact it is a glamorized cookbook with some house restoration spices thrown in. I am going to cut out the recipes (most of which look quite appetizing) and use the rest of the book for firestarter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 25 2003
Format: Paperback
Look at the reviews. You either love the book or hate it. There doesnt seem to be much of an inbetween. If you are thinking of buying the book then go to the bookstore and sit down and read the first chapter or two. If you think you can handle more of the same then you'll probably like the book. If you keep thinking....whens the story going to begin and when am i going to stop hearing about the house....youre out of luck...put the book away! I like detail....but this book is like talking to that one person that will never let you leave a conversation and has to tell you about people you dont know and are so descriptive they have to tell you the name of ever intersection they passed in their story. I think this will probably be the first time I've EVER said this.....THE MOVIE IS MUCH BETTER THAN THE BOOK!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read the book long time ago. Bought this copy for my daughter and I read a couple of chapters again. Still love it!!!

There's a movie based on this book as well so if someone has no time to read the book, at least watch the movie. :)
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By Asher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 25 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun". This is the first time I've ever been able to say that the book was inferior to the movie. The human component that was so appealing in the movie is completely missing in the book---it's really just a mash-up of renovation tales/travel foibles/recipes/I-cooked-dinner-for-my-rich-friends-in-Italy which does not read fluently.

Some other commentors have noted the condescending tone of the book and I'd like to thank them as I had the same feeling. There is a holier-than-thou voice throughout that is not very endearing. Ms. Mayes never hesitates to remind us that she's only pages away from "her real self" that she "discovered" in Tuscany and all us lesser mortals might as well give up because we'll never have the same fulfillment that she has found. It's all very grating.

The lead characters in the movie are non-existant in the book. The story is completely different. The mysterious Ed has a role in weed-wacking tasks but in little else.

The reason I gave this book 3 stars is simply for nostalgic reasons and for the way Mayes wrote about her newly acquired olive groves and fruit orchards with such a deep love. I enjoyed the chapters based on her gardening triumphs and found the "monumental wall rebuild" rather interesting. The ordinary miracles of uncovering mini cisterns and old discarded kitchen accoutrements on the property were charming. Otherwise this is definitely a book to skip.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mystery Fan on April 11 2004
Format: Paperback
The descriptions of food go on and on. Actually, the descriptions of EVERYTHING go on and on. They're not interesting or enchanting they are just words on a page. The main problems:
Mayes' tone is condescending (and that's being kind). She acts as if she discovered Cortona, villa renovation and fresh produce. Please! I kept hoping a big Tuscan stone would hit her on the head so she could acquire a new attitude.
I can't even describe the plot because there isn't one. Travel logs are fun, exciting, amusing; I didn't even crack a smile as I read about food, stones, food, Frances Mayes and food. So, she's a good cook. I got it already, no need to talk about it for 200+ pages.
Characters besides Mayes and her high opinion of herself are nonexistent; 280 pages - is Ed her husband, her boyfriend, her slave? Whatever, I don't even care anymore. I'd feel sorry for him if I could figure out who he is.
I could go on and on, but I'm not Frances Mayes so I won't.
My advice to her is to get over herself. My advice to a potential reader is to get over your impulse to read this book.
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