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Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France Paperback – April 25, 2000


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Frequently Bought Together

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France + Toujours Provence + A Year in Provence
Price for all three: $34.55

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  • Toujours Provence $11.15
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679762698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762690
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Provence, again?" one may think, seeing Peter Mayle's latest effort. "Has the man nothing better to do than promote a region that's already overhyped and overpriced? Can't he turn his eye to a place that needs a touristic boost, like Bulgaria?"

However, there are reasons to plunge into the third Provençal book by Englishman Mayle, formerly a Madison Avenue copywriter whose bestselling A Year in Provence made the area a must-see for tourists and helped to quadruple real estate prices there. After four years in Long Island, Mayle has returned to France with continuing adoration.

Mayle discloses a world missed by tourists, be it the questions dry cleaners ask about wine stains or the mysterious murder of a small-town butcher given to making housewives happy with more than his displayed meat. He also incorporates guide-like tips--listing markets, cheese makers, and the essential how-tos of perfume sniffing and olive-oil tasting. What's more, this book gives a peek into the life of a bestselling writer. The role is not always an enviable one.

Mayle no longer fits into life in America--the vocabulary alone is enough to throw him off--yet in Provence, he is regarded as little more than a moneyed foreigner. Speared by the British press, he laments, "One of my crimes is to have encouraged people to visit the region ... far too many people ... and people of the wrong sort," an accusation that he denies.

And Mayle comes off as positively defensive in his attack of former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, who wrote that she was disappointed in the region. The title alone of chapter 3 hints at the sarcastic stabbings to follow: "New York Times Restaurant Critic Makes Astonishing Discovery: Provence Never Existed." Page after page, he roasts Reichl on the spit, creating a hissing Ruth Rotisserie that's most unbecoming from someone of his stature.

What most causes him to sputter is Reichl's admission that she "had been dreaming of a Provence that never existed."

"Where had I been living all these years?" writes the man who's helped to perpetrate the illusion of a land that is nothing but lavender fields, sunflowers swaying in the breeze, and fascinating characters every millimeter. "The Provence that Daudet, Giono, Ford Madox Ford, Lawrence Durrell and M.F.K. Fisher knew and wrote about--the Provence that I know--doesn't exist.... It's a sunny figment of our imagination, a romanticized fantasy."

Maybe. Having recently visited Provence, I agree with Reichl's critical assessment. Therein lies Mayle's ultimate charm. Crack open a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, delve into Encore Provence, and voilà: it may be better than actually being there. --Melissa Rossi --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

After a four-year leave, Mayle is back in the region he described in his bestselling A Year in Provence and Toujours ProvenceAand the British author's fans will be pleased that he decided to return to his adopted homeland, for his writing is as charming and witty as ever. In the first chapter, "Second Impressions," Mayle explains that he and his wife quit the convenient, efficient life in America for the "smell of thyme in the fields" and "the swirl and jostle of Sunday-morning markets" of Provence. Mayle goes on to make hash of former New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl's disparaging assessment of Provence, apparently based on a single August visit, and heaps scorn on those who consider themselves to be "travelersAintelligent, well-mannered, cultured"Arather than tourists (as he proudly labels himself). The author then assists future tourists by naming his favorite markets, vineyards, bakeries, chambres d'h?tes, even places to go for the best olive oil or honey. A chapter called "A Beginner's Guide to Marseille" is equally informative and offers the little-known fact that "La Marseillaise" was actually composed in Strasbourg. Mayle enticingly recounts his peregrinations around the truffle markets and his searches for the perfect corkscrew or melon, but it's his ability to capture the subtle cultural peculiarities that distinguishes his writing. Upon first arriving in France from the U.S., Mayle observes, "I think it was the sight of a man power-washing his underpants [with a hose] that really brought home the difference, cultural and otherwise, between the old world and the new." Line drawings not seen by PW. 130,000 first printing; author tour.-- that really brought home the difference, cultural and otherwise, between the old world and the new." Line drawings not seen by PW. 130,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Another lovingly crafted book by Peter Mayle that transports the reader to Provence.
bobsmarie
As I began reading I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a "story line"-- but after the first chapter I was fullly ensconsed in the book.
hoppe@foxvalley.tec.wi.us
I was able to fall into the countryside in France and enjoy the writers joy of good food and fun adventures.
Laurals

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Twelve years ago, Peter Mayle gifted us with "A Year In Provence", an account of this expatriate Brit's plunge into Gallic life, revolving around the pleasures and pitfalls of establishing a residence in rural France in an old country house that was somewhat of a "fixer-upper". Several Provence-related books later, and after a period of time living on Long Island, Peter and his wife return to the land they (and we) love. The result is "Encore Provence". The latest book doesn't hold together as well as "Year", the elements of the latter forming a more cohesive whole. However, "Encore" is certainly much better than some of his other books written in the interim.
In "Encore", Peter briefly revisits several topics covered in the original, as well as several more which were apparently overlooked. The range is quixotic: the cultivation of olive trees, an explanation of the three grades of virgin olive oil, the smelly art of selecting fragrances for designing perfumes, foie gras as the key to longevity, discovering the perfect corkscrew, touring Marseille, the almost-underworld of the village truffle market, how to execute the Provençal full shrug, the obligatory elements of the Provençal village, and, umm ..... the shotgun murder of an amorous meat cutter. And, of course, many hedonistic references to the local food and wine. All are treated in the utterly charming and dryly humorous Mayle-style that makes his books so delightful.
Bravo and merci beaucoup, Mr. Mayle! You've provided another enjoyable spice to my life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on September 7, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once again reading Peter Mayle is the next best thing to actually being there. Most of the book covers brand new territory in the South of France including the perfect corkscrew, an olfactory lesson, and the joys of olive oil, while also revisiting many of his favorite topics including the wonder of truffles and of course the wine and food.In fact my only slight beef with the book is his need to revisit some topics already covered in previous books, but it's so slight it hardly detracts from the overall joy the book manages to evoke.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of Peter Mayle's writings on this brilliant region of Southern France. As a backpacker a couple of years ago, I travelled through France extensively, and have a special fondness for Provence.
In Mayle's two previous books, A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, he captured the essence of the characters and geography of the region beautifully. The reader was captivated by the author's ability to make the smallest occurrence an interesting event. I personally felt that Mayle did an excellent job of describing the cast of characters and their insights into French rural life.
Encore Provence does not have the same level of character development and I feel that this is a weakness in the book. I found that in some cases, well known characters from the previous books are either mentioned in passing or totally re-introduced to the reader. This lack of consistency is annoying.
One other gripe with the book is Mayle's constant reference to America (No offence to American readers intended). Obviously, this has been done to give a reference point to American readers and is also related to the fact that the author had just returned from the USA, but the cynic in me feels this was also done to boost American sales of the book.
Overall though, Encore Provence, is well written and contains enough of the amusing stories and observations that fans and Francophiles alike will enjoy.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on February 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ahhhhh. I just finished Encore Provence and I have to say it was well worth the wait! I have read each of Peter Mayle's other Provence books three times and I was quite eager to dive into his latest. I am a Francofile, having lived in Paris for six months in 1994-1995. I had the pleasure of visiting Provence for only a short time, but I fell in love with the area. Peter Mayle has a riveting writing style and I feel as if I am on his adventures with him. His use of French words in italics is an excellent device. I understand it can be a bit off-putting to non French speakers, but for me, it is a wonderful, short walk down memory lane. More than any other author I've read, with the exception of Papa Hemingway, Mayle has the ability to draw me into his books. Halfway through Encore Provence, I was on my way to the local liquor store to stock up on several nice bottles of Cotes du Rhone! I hope M. Mayle continues to write about the south of France for years to come. If not, I can always reread his trilogy each year. Bravo!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really can't understand why people didn't like this book as much as Mayle's previous works. I think it's absolutely delightful. Mayle works his special brand of magic and captures the essence of Provence perfectly. Some reviewers have suggested that Mayle write about other locales instead, but to me that would be like John Grisham writing a book that didn't contain a main character from the legal profession. Provence is Peter Mayle country and he describes it with genius. I can't wait until his NEXT book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tobin Barnes on November 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Is one of Peter Mayle's Provence books better than another? Who cares? And who remembers when you're in the middle of any one of them. They're all worth the while if you're looking for a lilting ride through another person's favorite countryside. I'd read another if there were a fourth.
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