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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: 13.2 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

In this memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found living in rural Italy, and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels in the sunlight and the color, the long view of her valley, the warm homey architecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working her garden, and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals. Cooking, gardening, tiling and painting are never chores, but skills to be learned, arts to be practiced, and above all to be enjoyed. At the same time Mayes brings a literary and intellectual mind to bear on the experience, adding depth to this account of her enticing rural idyll. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Mayes's favorite guide to Northern Italy allots seven pages to the town of Cortona, where she owns a house. But here she finds considerably more to say about it than that, all of it so enchanting that an armchair traveler will find it hard to resist jumping out of the chair and following in her footsteps. The recently divorced author is euphoric about the old house in the Tuscan hills that she and her new lover renovated and now live in during summer vacations and on holidays. A poet, food-and-travel writer, Italophile and chair of the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, Mayes is a fine wordsmith and an exemplary companion whose delight in a brick floor she has just waxed is as contagious as her pleasure in the landscape, architecture and life of the village. Not the least of the charms of her book are the recipes for delicious meals she has made. Above all, her observations about being at home in two very different cultures are sharp and wise.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 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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4 of 4 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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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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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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By A Customer on April 10 2004
Format: Paperback
Reading this book was like being submerged in a warm scented bath. As I read it, I felt like I was being born along on a raft on a sleepy, sunny summer day. It reads like a stream of consciousness, and I found it easiest to just dip in and out of it. There did not seem to be any linear organization, but the poetry of Mayes' prose compensated for that nicely. Don't expect the book to "pick up" at any point, it maintains the same leisurely pace until the end. Do however, expect your mouth to start watering, as Mayes describes her meals (many recipes are provided, as well). No matter how much of a carnivore you are, you will probably find yourself craving pasta with fresh tomato, basil and olives.
The nice thing about this book is just as you find yourself envying Mayes for her luck in finding this house, you get a description of the temperamental plumbing or disappearing workmen, and you think twice about going out and plunking down your life savings into a house in Italy. Her renovations on the house were anything but a smooth ride.
I haven't seen the film, but I recommend the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is THE most sensual book I have EVER read. And NOT in the sexual way. Everything about this book is sensual. The descriptions are so vivid. You can see it, you can touch it,you can smell it, you can taste it. It's just so beautifully written that I fell in love with the raw earthiness of this book so completely.
I am disapointed with the reviews that others have given this book, dismissing it as a guide book or trivializing the gorgeousness of it. I understand that people all have different opinions, but I also, at the same time, cannot help but wonder if they have missed the point of the book all together.
It is a book that was written out of love FOR a labor of love...for and about the people and the country that Francis Mayes genuinely keeps deep in her heart. Her love for all of that comes out so completely, so uninhibited that one cannot help but fall hopelessly in love with it all as well.
Now the movie is only a little like the book. And although I very much love the movie, the book is dearer to my heart. Only because the movie screen cannot do justice to the people and the country that Francis Mayes has given it with words.
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