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Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy Hardcover – September 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More About the Author
Her first novel, Swan, a family saga and mystery, returns Mayes to her childhood home of Georgia and was published in 2002. A film version of Under the Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane, was released in fall of 2003. Frances Mayes was the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. She is also the author of the travel memoir entitled A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller, which immediately debuted as a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Working again with Steven Rothfeld, she published Shrines: Images of Italian Worship, also in 2006.
A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written numerous books of poetry, including Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, Hours, The Book of Summer, and Ex Voto. Her work The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems is widely used in college poetry classes. Formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing, Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing, restoring an historic garden and to her "At Home in Tuscany" furniture line at Drexel Heritage. She and her husband divide their time between North Carolina and Cortona, Italy.
Biographical note from Steven Barclay Agency
"Tuscany may have found its own bard in Frances Mayes."
-- The New York Times
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 5 days 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 18 days ago by Jazzi
ok.. so I had to read this for a study abroad experience in Italy. It was a girly book but I did end up enjoying it because I could relate with it and my my own two month... Read morePublished 20 days ago by sdenmark
If you are a woman with wanderlust, you will love this book. Mayes paints a vivid image of a picturesque existence, and makes you calculate to see if you can do the same. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Calee
Just bought this book. A friend told me to read it because it was much better than the movie. It's looking good!Published 29 days ago by conwat
Felt like I was in Italy!! Recipes for delicious Italian food also. A great read!!Published 1 month ago by Carole F. Smith
The book may have been interesting if it was a third as long as it is.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Reader