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A Year in Provence Paperback – June 4, 1991
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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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mayle's (and his wife's) adaptation to the Provencal lifestyle is sometimes painful, other times poignant and telling, but almost always extremely funny. He is a born raconteur, a master of the amusing anecdote, expert at rendering a farcical tableau.
The cast of characters of A Year in Provence are priceless. He describes them vividly and each lends color to the overall impression of les Provencals that we eventually come away with. Mayle pokes gentle fun at them and obviously has warm feelings towards them, even his fox-eating neighbor, Massot. Every inhabitant of the region has a strong opinion on a variety of subjects, and these opinions are often at odds with those of their neighbors. About the only thing everyone agrees on is the importance of food.Read more ›
A Year in Provence is written in monthly chapters and tracks the days in the life of the English author, Peter Mayle, and his wife who have purchased a home in a small village in Provence, France. Readers are witnesses to blustery Mistral winds, torrential summer downpours, the finer points of wine harvesting, installing central heat, business practices of Provencal businessmen, and the joys of goat racing through the town.
While there is no action of great depth or importance, I found this book to be a pleasure to read. At first thought, I wasn't too sure I liked it. There is no plot, no surprise, no twists in the storyline like my usual reading. However, if my mindset was set in low gear prior to the first page, I would've been prepared for the meandering, languid story that was to follow. Also, beware of the liberal tossing of french words and phrases that are never explained or defined -- a translation dictionary would be a trusty and helpful companion.
Now that the book is complete and back safely on my bookshelf, I have decided that A Year in Provence was indeed enjoyable. If one goes into the book with no ideas for a fast-paced, action-packed story and takes it for what it actually is -- a travel memoir -- the reader will undoubtedly have a wonderful reading experience. It just took me 207 pages to realize it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I adore this book and have read it multiple times. From the time I read this book I searched & waited for more books to be written by Peter Mayle and have read almost all he has... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Having just returned from two weeks in Provence, I thoroughly enjoyed this easy-to-read book. The author writes well. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Shelley M.
A fun read. I haven't been to Provence but it gave a very enjoyable feeling of what it would be likePublished 17 days ago by Linda L. Wirick
Peter Mayle made me laugh over and over. He is an amazing and fascinating writer.Published 22 days ago by Patricia Robinson Nelson
I loved the cleverness and quiet humor, not at anyone's expense (well, occasionally the author's). Such a warm, funny picture and so true to life. Made me long for France.Published 22 days ago by JCKy
This book gave me a sense of wanderlust and was able to make me feel like I was experiencing Provence for myself. The humor made me love it even more. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cynthia Fu
Great book... How this guy describes the situations he goes through when he buys his house in Provence are just hilarious. Read morePublished 1 month ago by I. Trejos