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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Peter Mayle is an excellent writer. He brings you right into the heart of Provence with just his words. Read morePublished 10 days ago by C. Hlad
A joy to read and re-read. The pleasures and perils of renovating an old farmhouse in France make you laugh out loud. Read morePublished 10 days ago by marina schell
Unbeatable! Elegant sarcasm! Hilarious stories! When in Rome....... or like here in Provence, France!!!Published 12 days ago by Marco Polo
This is one of the few books that I have re-read with delight. Mayle's gentle humor, his obvious delight in the region and its people, is infectious. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Mary E. Lagerborg
A compelling book, ideal for Provence lovers (like me) or people who have never been there. Peter Mayle has captured the essence of life in Provence and creates a rainbow of... Read morePublished 21 days ago by silvia bonaccorso