Customer Reviews: Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence
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on May 12, 2000
"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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on November 3, 2001
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...French comedy, romance, bumbling crooks, ex-wives, a malignant local journalist and, perhaps most important of all, the French country-side, in all it's glory. Perhaps, in some way, the villages of southern France are as much of the novel as the characters. Altogether an extemely well-rounded first novel that is as fruity and smooth as a bottle of pastis!
Do yourself a huge favor and run to your library or local book store and pick up your very own copy. I've bought countless copies as gifts and speaking for myself have read this wonderful book on 'six' seperate occassions. And while you're at it pick up a wonderful bottle of wine and an an Edith Piaf record. You may not be in France certainly won't be home either! Bon Appetit!!
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on January 4, 2000
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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on May 31, 2006
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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on October 31, 1999
This is one of a very few novels that I've read more than once.It was light, humorous, and delightful entertainment, as well as close to the fantasies of many who feel trapped in the "rat-race", worldwide. I have spent quite some time in the Provençe region of France and felt as if I had already known many of Mayle's characters.
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on July 4, 1998
Found this book especially delightful as it is a fantasy of mine to quit my advertising job and move to the south of France. As usual, couldn't put the book down and had to go out and buy a hard copy once I returned my borrowed copy. However, if I have one criticism of Mayle's books, it's that he doesn't end them. I am always just a ittle peeved at him for not tying things together a bit more. For example, whatever happened to The General and his gang? Did Simon ever fire Zieglar when he got the chance? I felt the author missed the opportunity for some more dramatic storytelling. Even if he plans on picking this up in a sequel, it was still a bit too abrupt and unfinished for the book to stand on its own. Otherwise, it was a five-star read throughout. Found the same trouble with "Chasing Cezanne." We never discovered what happened to the man who orchestrated the art swindle, or whether our protagonists ever made any money off the art exchange for their efforts. Again, it seems like we got left hanging right in the middle of a chapter. Although I do like Mayle's books and will continue to read them, since they provide hours of entertaining reading--until the end.
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on January 26, 1999
I first read Mayle's non fiction A Year in Provence and Tousjour Provence and I was snared. Having lived in Europe and traveled extensivly in France it brought back wonderful memories. At first I was reluctant to try the novel, wondering if he could pull off the fiction as well. And Hotel Pastis proves he can do both very well. In fact the novel was even more fun that the non fiction. Light reading, ideal for a plane trip or a similar situation, humorous but with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. A delightful read. Keep it up Mr. Mayle.
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on December 12, 2001
Peter Mayle escorts the reader to the Provence countryside in this easy to read, relaxing novel. The story is not complicated enabling the reader to create a mental image of the surrounding scenery. Seated comfortably in a garden setting during a clear Spring afternoon with a glass of wine is how this novel is best enjoyed. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing read in Provence. "A Year in Provence" is another exceptionally written and highly recommended Peter Mayle novel.
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on February 21, 2016
I had a hard time reading the book and it took a couple of months to struggle to the last page. I am in general a fan of Peter Mayle's Provence stories and all his books are read. This book had too many predictable and dull chapters
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on June 11, 2015
i forgot how it was narrated... :)
i frequently buy this book to give as a gift.
in my thinking this is one of two great books of His.

i LOVE the ending of this book.

i highly recommend it; both as a gift, and for You.

especially if You need to go to France for a while;
and have some sweet adventure, and a new, Beautiful, beginning :))
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