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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on August 18, 2000
I like Peter Mayle's fiction a lot, but when you meet him as a character, you wonder why a fictional snob is fun but a real one isn't. Maybe because his characters actually have jobs and lives, while he's a dilletante who spends his time eating and complaining. Some people dream of doing what he did. I don't. He runs away from the real world, moves into a house most of us could never afford, and glorifies the life of the idle semi-rich.
Despite a good writing style, Mayle fails to make this book accessible to those of us whose lives are not about leisure time and food. I wonder if this man ever for one second realizes just how condescending he is, or how out of touch his snotty way of life has gotten. I would much rather he stayed at home in London and got a real job.
Skip this book unless you really care about how well the French seemingly eat. And truthfully, I don't really believe half of what he wrote about the peasantry.
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on May 16, 2001
Mayle's description of the Provencal food and culture was fine, no problem there; but I was regularly distracted by his invocation of numerous English "friends" who just happened to "invite themselves" to his slice of Gallic heaven. Mayle is proud of his self-restraint and tolerance of guests who are supposedly friends, but rarely bothers to explain why he left a trail for them to follow. My guess is that they're used by Mayle as literary foils, as contrast against the French rustics. I don't recall him saying he didn't leave word as to his whereabouts; why didn't he simply excuse himself from hosting duties by pleading temporary absence? Mayle's experiences weren't rich enough to carry a book, so he relied on the foibles of others for copy? Otherwise a pleasant, if eventually predictable, read.
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on February 15, 1999
I thought it a bit odd that a man who dislikes tourists would write a book to popularize his favorite place to tourists the world over. I enjoyed the book but thought Peter Mayle is a bit of a hypocrite.
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