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Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy Paperback – September 2, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
However, if you pick up the book as none of those things above, simply as one woman's collection of memories -- a portrait of her summers with a focus on the land and its pleasures -- you will be enraptured. You will not regret this book if you expect it to be full of little gems of information. Instead of tedious details, look at her close description of everything she does as poetry. Immerse yourself in her unique and rich language, and the book will warm your soul.
I was debating whether or not I should do a cycling tour of Tuscany when I spotted this book. I took it as a sign from above, so I immediately purchased it in hopes of being inspired to do the tour. Well... I WAS inspired, but not as much as I would've hoped.
Much like others have said, the first third of this book is quite sweet and captivating. It does a great job of drawing a sparse, beautifully concise mental picture of the Tuscan countryside. I really enjoyed her literary 'frugality'.
However, the only frugality she exhibits appears to be in her prose... As the book drags on, it becomes more and more the transcribed diary of a spoiled little rich girl who has trouble keeping the reins on her pocketbook. I found the references to shoe-shopping addictions to be particularly shallow.
And after the umpteenth complaint about cost overruns on the house renovations - followed by inexplicable spending sprees - I began to hear the phrase, "Awwww, the poor wittle baby" going through my head more and more. If everything's so darn expensive, why do you keep buying, and buying, and buying?
But I must admit that there is the odd sprinkle of profundity throughout the text. Every twenty pages or so, there was something - perhaps only one sentence - that would strike a chord within me, and would make me put the book down, look out the window, and remark to myself, "So, so true." In particular, her description of travel and its effect on the traveller was especially meaningful to me. It put into words what I've felt in the past, many times, but was unable to explain.Read more ›
For an entertaining account of remodeling an Italian villa, "Valley in Italy" by Lisa St. Aubin De Teran is very entertaining. For insights into Italians and life in Italy, "Italian Neighbors" and "An Italian Education" by Tim Parks are great.
First of all, it is a really boring, endless description of THINGS - it could be a do-it-yourself book on restoring houses. From a woman that teaches creative writing, I expected something more. But what really annoyed me is that the author doesn't show the least interest in understanding and penetrating the italian lifestyle and culture. The book could be titled "A Stonehouse Somewhere In The Mediterranean Area", for all the relations it bears with Tuscany, or Italy. The interactions with the locals are limited to whatever work at the house they can do; there isn't the slightest interest in knowing them and their life. Mayes lives in her charming stonehouse immersed in the idea that her way of doing and seeing things is the only possible one; the doubt that "strange" behaviors could be explained by another history and culture never touches her. Being annoyed because people don't come to sand your ceilings in August is like wanting to send your kid to school on Thanksgiving...From what I gathered from the book, Mayes' only real interactions are with other americans, that share with her a quite distorted view of Italy. Her romantic views of the "nonna" living in the nice house in the country really made me laugh; ask any italian grandmother what it was like to live in a farmhouse 50 years ago: 20 hrs of work per day, cold, starving, meat only on Christmas and maybe Easter. And Mayes dreams about the "nonna" lovingly roasting the steaks on the fireplace!
Half of the italian words in the book are mispelled. The book might be intended for an american audience, but still the author could have taken the pain to show it to an italian "friend" before sending it to print. To me, it just shows once more how detached the author is from Tuscany, her "second home".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous book - nothing like the movie. Writing style is very relaxing and descriptive. Makes me dream of going to Italy. I have even taken up some cooking. Read morePublished 1 day ago by amuseme2
The prose is fabulous. It is just very difficult to listen to the author...sorry, please don't take personally. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Wild Bill
Some drama but lots of comedy. A delightful story that is sure to lift your spiritsPublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Dragged....Oh my God. How EVER did they get enough out of this to make a good movie...and it was. I do not think that I have ever liked a movie better than the book but this was... Read morePublished 2 months ago by )
I have never said this before and I can't believe I'm saying it here. I liked the movie better.
*Audible gasps. Read more
Loved it...especially since we're going to Tuscany this summer.Published 3 months ago by weezie stoops
Having just returned from Italy, and taken pictures of this home, I wanted to read the book. It is lovely - interesting and totally delightful, especially for those who enjoy the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by MPOLLACK
I am on a plane right now to Tuscany. Marvelous book. Very descriptive prose on the beauty of Bramasole in Italy, the delightful people and scrumptious recipes. A delightful read.Published 4 months ago by Jazzi