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My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 26, 2018
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Hardcover, Deckle Edge
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“[Mayle’s] keen eye and wit are much on display in this all-new collection of writings on his times in the south of France.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Fans of Mayle (who died in January) will be delighted by this final book from Provence’s most impassioned booster. . . . Composed in a uniformly bright and jocular voice, this is a breezy valedictory note for a much admired writer." --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
PETER MAYLE is the author of fifteen previous books. A recipient of the Légion d'Honneur from the French government for his cultural contributions, he lived in Provence with his wife, Jennie, for more than twenty-five years. He died in January 2018.
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I read this book and I was surprised to hear that the author passed away in January of this year, sadly making this his last published book. In "My Twenty-Five Years in Provence" there were some new interesting tid bits that I had not read before and I enjoyed the author reflecting on his Provencal life. One of the chapters that I found interesting was how his novel "A Good Year" ended up being made in a movie starring Russell Crowe and directed by the legendary Ridley Scott (known for the Alien movies). I would have liked the book to be a little bit longer, it's a small book and it's barely 179 pages. Overall, it's an entertaining read but leaves you with wanting more. There are several photos included in the book that the author's wife took, but I would have liked to see more.
I’ve read most of Mayle’s Provence books and his novels over the years. As time went by, his efforts seemed to become more and more slight. This book is another case of too little of a good thing. It also feels scattershot, because it’s a collection of short chapters that seem to have been written at different times. The same subject will be repeated in different chapters and there is no sense of any organizing principle. And there isn’t much of anything new here for people who have read Mayle’s other books about his life in Provence. Still, it’s a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.
As this book is published posthumously, it is likely that, were Mr. Mayle still alive, it might have assumed a slightly different form, included more or different stories, etc.. But to the best of my recollection, there does not appear to be any repetition from earlier books in this volume.
As always, Mayle describes in enthusiastic detail the beautiful Provençal countryside and the fabulous cuisine. In an era of often brutal honesty (and dishonesty) in writing, bring on those rose-tinted glasses one more time!
I have enjoyed so many of his books, and it is sad knowing that this is Mr. Mayle’s last book. He died in January near his Provencal home.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.