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Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence Paperback – November 8, 1994

95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As fans of A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence may have suspected, Mayle's skills as a writer translate well into fiction. His first novel is as adroit, funny and charming as his previous works, and again it is set in his favorite region of France. Newly divorced, disenchanted and bored with his job as a director of a prestigious British ad agency, Simon Shaw is delighted when beautiful Frenchwoman Nicole Bouvier suggests that he rescue from bankruptcy a half-finished hotel in the drolly named town of Brassiere-les-Deux-Eglises. Taking a huge risk, Simon resigns from his agency and becomes patron of the new establishment in the picturesque Luberon region. In counterpoint, Mayle crosscuts to the escapades of a lovable band of criminals who are conspiring to break into the vault of a bank in the neighboring village of Isle-sur-Sorges. As the threads of the plot begin to converge, Mayle displays his satiric eye for social foibles by skewering advertising execs in England and the U.S.; he is equally adept at evoking typical Provencal villagers. Wickedly sharp and sympathetic at the same time, his characterizations are accurate down to nuances of class differences, voice, accent and vocabulary. The novel is as smooth as a sip of pastis, and one hopes that Mayle will find his segue into fiction equally addictive. 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Mayle's first novel is carefully abridged and wonderfully read by Tim Pigott-Smith. The tale is one of contrasts: the traditional values of Provence and the pressures of international business; the complexities and delights of haute cuisine and the simplicity of pastis; the diversity of values of people from Britain, France, New York, and Texas; and honest labor and a bank robbery in Provence. Some familiarity with the French language, though not required for following the action, will add considerably to the listener's enjoyment. Piggott-Smith's narration and his mastery of dialect, along with the high production quality of this audiobook, make this rendition an absolute delight for the general listener. Very highly recommended.
- Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 8, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679751114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679751113
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By "lisadiva" on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
"A Year in Provence" is one of my all-time favorite books. I spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence when I was in college and fell in love with the region . . . and Mr. Mayle does a wonderful job of bringing the tastes, smells, sights, and sounds of Provence into your living room. "Hotel Pastis" is his first (I believe) work of fiction set in Provence, and it does not disappoint. The story succeeds on so many levels, the characters are described so well that you expect to recognize them walking down the street. Mr. Mayle's talent is in creating these characters, and richly describing them so perfectly, without rambling on for pages on end. The prose is never boring, the story is always jam-packed and exciting, the characters always have so many different levels and layers, and they are all somehow interconnected with each other. The book is fun -- you aren't going to find anything serious or thought-provoking here -- and absolutely wonderful. "Hotel Pastis" is like vacationing in Provence -- it is an enjoyable experience, and you will find yourself re-reading it so you can re-visit with an old friend. I highly recommend it!
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By douglas barton on November 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'll begin this review by giving "Hotel Pastis" a total of SIX stars instead of the obligatory five. Stay with me and I'll explain why.
Being such an incredible fan of Mr. Mayle's previous books on Provence I was slighly apprehensive about his delving into the world of fiction. Untested waters to be sure but I held my breath and waited for "Hotel Pastis " to appear at my local book store. When it finally arrived I, without hesitation, picked up my copy and that evening sat down... ready to be disappointed.Obviously, quite the opposite has occured. Looking back over the past few years when I first read this novel I actually have to laugh at my apprehensiveness (ummm... is that a word?).
"Hotel Pasts" is, at least for me, one of the most enchanting, funny and in some small, strange way, romantic books I have read in many a year. Mr. Mayle simply makes you really care about the people that populate this book and you truly do want to see an "happy-ending"! The novel is written in an extremely fast-paced mode and moves along with the speed of sound! Never a dull moment! Without going into the plot of the novel, the main character Simon Shaw and his "man Friday" Ernest are both so cleverly drawn and fleshed out that I keep hopeing for a sequel to this work. Especially Ernest, part valet, part confidant, part friend and qualified Rolls-Royce mechanic is simply so fascinating that his character alone is worthy of a book.
Obviously,as in any Peter Mayle novel ( and in real life) things don't always go as intended for our "heroes" and that is where the fun truly begins. This book simply has it all...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "kingsransom" on January 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you want "heavy" reading that makes you think beware of Peter Mayle. His books are more fun than...well...anything! If you love France, food, and a little foul play...then welcome abord. In "Hotel Pastis," Mayle works the special brand of magic that he first showed us in "A Year in Provence." The only book that's ever made me want to leave Italy! For awhile, that is! Enjoy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jackie M. Bachenberg on May 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had been thinking about reading some of Mayle's works for quite a while and I finally decided to start from the beginning.

This is truly a delightful book. The premise is a bored and highly successful London business man (Simon Shaw) gives up his career to open a hotel in France. It's probably a dream for a lot of us (even those who are not so rich and successful) and that is probably why it is such a captivating book. It tells a story of a life that you wish you could try.

It's also full of fun characters. The best (and I think more likeable than Simon) is Ernest. I never really figured out the relationship between Simon and Ernest. I wasn't sure if they were co-workers and Ernest just went along, if he was Simon butler, or what. But it didn't matter. Ernest is the more likable of the two in my opinion. And he's the one who really gets the hotel up and running. Simon (like a lot of successful business men) gets bored with an endeavor once the "new" has worn off.

Other fun characters include Simon's ex-wife, the hotel's new chief, Simon's new girl friend, the rich college kid, and a whole band of robbers who train to be bicyclists as part of a scheme.

I'll definitely be reading more of Mr. Mayle's works in the future.

My star ratings:

One star - couldn't finish the book

Two stars - read the book, but did a lot of skipping or scanning. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection or search out other books by the author

Three stars - enjoyable read. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection. Would judge other books by the author individually.

Four stars - Liked the book. Would keep the book or would look for others by the same author.

Five stars - One of my all time favorites. Will get a copy in hardback to keep and will actively search out others by the same author.
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