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The Reluctant Tuscan (2005)

by Phil Doran

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284565,892 (3.78)7
"Rising from the mist in the sun-blushed hills of Tuscany is El Piciola Rustico, a 300-year-old stone farmhouse that Nancy Doran dreams of lovingly restoring into an idyllic home. All her husband Phil can see is a crumbling money pit that, as far as dreams go, is more of a nightmare." "Reluctantly leaving behind high-octane, air-conditioned Los Angeles where he lives and works as a writer-producer, Phil is uprooted to a strange country intoxicated by O sole mio, virgin olive oil and oak-aged Chianti. The local village reveals itself to be a hive of seething passions, secrets and age-old blood feuds, and the newcomers find that life is not all strolls around town during the passagiaio and relaxing under the awnings of picturesque cafes." "Beset by a raft of exasperating challenges - from the cunning tricks of the Pingatore family to an infuriating Byzantine Italian bureacracy - it is only with an inspired touch of the 'Inner Italian' that Phil and Nancy finally manage to soften the hearts of their neighbours and are embraced by the community."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)



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Showing 5 of 5
I loved this book, as the author recounts his transition from Hollywood screen writer to resident of Tuscany in Italy. It is funny, moving, daring, subtle and funny again. I was inspired by the story of someone who dares to live his life beyond the conventional. It will keep you hooked. ( )
  MTedesco | Jul 3, 2013 |
Excellent book. Funny, touching, and slightly irreverent look at an American living in Tuscany. I was reading this book as my second non-fiction book (my secondary book as my current fiction book is always my primary book) and this book starting getting more attention than the primary one. Really good read. Made me want to move to the European countryside. ( )
  dd196406 | Sep 25, 2011 |
Phil Doran may not have been the first person to move to Tuscany and decide to write about his move, but he would probably win the vote for most reluctant. For many years, Doran's wife worked in Tuscany while Doran wrote sitcoms in Hollywood. Finally, after some dismal setbacks in tv land, Doran's wife encouraged Doran to join her in Tuscany. Doran looks at quirky Tuscany and its quirky citizens with the eye of a hurry-up, get-rich-quick, kill-or-be-killed American and grows to love its eccentricities. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
This book belongs to the category of "non-local finds charming rustic run-down house and while fixing up meets locals who redeem their frustrating behavior with charm and insight into what's really important about life (see Peter Mayle, etc.). However, this is a very good version and Doran keeps a good balance between the warmth and charm of the locals with the exasperation of dealing with them. He also gives his wife full credit for compensating for his failings and his affection for her carries the book a long way. The man can write (he is a burned-out Hollywood TV script writer and producer), and you won't waste your time with this book. ( )
  NellieMc | Jun 14, 2009 |
The story of a couple who buys a run down, ancient building in the hills and renovates it is not unique. The appeal when I picked up this book was the claim by Doran, a former Hollywood screenwriter, that he was telling the story of how he came to love Italy after he and his wife renovated a house near Pisa.

I don't believe him. From the beginning, when he reluctantly joined his wife after she bought the house, to the end, when they are living in the house, his tone is sarcastic and his description of the culture and people is derogatory. He is the classic "Ugly American" at the outset; in the end he is only slightly less ugly.

The book might have been redeemed had he related the stories of the local people in a believable way. All of them, however, are caricatures. Every odd characteristic is exaggerated. In the end, Doran could not overcome his screenwriter training and mentality. ( )
  LisaCurcio | Apr 4, 2009 |
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The events in this story are true. I have, however, taken the liberty of changing the names of some of the places and all of the people to ensure their privacy. If this kind of thing bothers you, I urge you to keep reading and when you are finished, please allow me one question:

Did you have a good time, honey?


Somewhere in Tuscany
APRIL 2005
To Betty, who gave me
the greatest gift of all
First words
I had a machete in my hand and I was thinking about using it on Henry David Thoreau.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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