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A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

A Year In Provence (original 1990; edition 1990)

by Peter Mayle, Judith Clancy (Illustrator)

Series: Provence (1)

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4,048751,257 (3.86)103
Title:A Year In Provence
Authors:Peter Mayle
Other authors:Judith Clancy (Illustrator)
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1990), Edition: First American Edition, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:General Non-Fiction, Memoir and Essay

Work details

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (1990)

  1. 00
    A Summer in Gascony: Discovering the Other South of France by Martin Calder (mike_frank)
  2. 11
    French Fried: One Man's Move to France with Too Many Animals and an Identity Thief by Chris Dolley (codehooligans)
    codehooligans: Similar concepts. Brits move to France. Story are similar for a while. Discovering (and using) the new language. Learning to communicate. Both set in mid-1990s. French Fried has some later twists
  3. 00
    Next Time Round in Provence: The Vaucluse and the Bouches-Du-Rhone (KayCliff)
  4. 00
    Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (carlym)

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Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
An interesting read to say the least. ( )
  Angel.Carter | Aug 11, 2016 |
Coming across [b:A Year in Provence|40189|A Year in Provence|Peter Mayle|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336967810s/40189.jpg|940715] while searching for books through the library, was one of those serendipitous events that I can only chalk up to literary karma. The book was available, somehow I came across it while searching for another unrelated topic, the cover looked inviting and it was relatively short in length. C'est magnifique! It was a book match made in heaven, especially since I needed something to pull me out of a prolonged reading slump.

Although published over 25 years ago, it still reads like a very contemporary story with a rustic twist. [a:Peter Mayle|19316|Peter Mayle|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1236522940p2/19316.jpg] does a magnificent job of revealing his impressions from the perspective of an Englishman living in Provence using a candid, yet witty manner. Even though everyone and everything is open season for being made fun of, the author does it in such a warm hearted and thoughtful way, that I cannot imagine anyone being personally offended.

The book is told in a series of chronological vignettes, with each chapter corresponding to a specific month. Athough some of the writing is devoted to the monumental task of having a French farmhouse renovated, even more of the novel humorously describes the incorporation of a seemingly endless procession of food and wine into daily events. Here are a few of my favorite passages concerning the influence of "gastronomic delights" on local attitudes and culture.

Sundays in Provence:
On the way home, we noticed that the combination of food and Sunday has a calming influence on the French motorist. His stomach is full. He is on his weekly holiday. He dawdles along without being tempted by the thrills of overtaking on a blind bend. He stops to take the air and relieve himself in the bushes by the roadside, at one with nature, nodding companionably at passing cars. Tomorrow he will take up the mantle of the kamikaze pilot once again, but today it is Sunday in Provence, and life is to be enjoyed.

Blood donation:
In England, the reward for a bagful of blood is a cup of tea and a biscuit. But here, after being disconnected from our tubes, we were shown to a long table manned by volunteer waiters. What would we like? Coffee, chocolate, croissants, brioches, sandwiches of ham or garlic sausage, mugs of red or rosé wine? Eat up! Drink up! Replace those corpuscles! The stomach must be served! A young male nurse was hard at work with a corkscrew, and the supervising doctor in his long white coat wished us all bon appétit. If the steadily growing pile of empty bottles behind the bar was anything to go by, the appeal for blood was an undoubted success, both clinically and socially.

Some time later, we received through the post our copy of Le Globule, the official magazine for the blood donors. Hundreds of liters had been collected that morning in Gordes, but the other statistic that interested me—the number of liters that had been drunk—was nowhere to be found, a tribute to medical discretion.

(Note to blood donation clinics in the US. Maybe there is something to be learned from the methods described in in this book? Oui?)

I would recommend this book to foodies, those who enjoy learning about other cultures and those that appreciate humorous narratives. To fully enjoy the literary experience, grab a glass of Provençal wine, a wedge of your favorite cheese along with a chunk of hearty bread, then prepare to indulge your senses and funny bone. Bon Appétit!

( )
  Lisa805 | Jul 23, 2016 |
What a fun adventure! This trip to Provence and its taste of the culture was a real treat. ( )
  rwilliams2911 | Jun 21, 2016 |
This will make you want to visit France. And Eat. Fair warning. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
Mayle's makes renovating an old home in a country where there is just no rush to get things done sound like great fun -- you just need great food. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
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To Jennie, with love and thanks
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The year began with lunch.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679731148, Paperback)

Who hasn't dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.

Beginning, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day with a divine luncheon in a quaint restaurant, Mayle sets the scene and pits his British sensibilities against it. "We had talked about it during the long gray winters and the damp green summers," he writes, "looked with an addict's longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards, dreamed of being woken up by the sun slanting through the bedroom window." He describes in loving detail the charming, 200-year-old farmhouse at the base of the Lubéron Mountains, its thick stone walls and well-tended vines, its wine cave and wells, its shade trees and swimming pool--its lack of central heating. Indeed, not 10 pages into the book, reality comes crashing into conflict with the idyll when the Mistral, that frigid wind that ravages the Rhône valley in winter, cracks the pipes, rips tiles from the roof, and tears a window from its hinges. And that's just January.

In prose that skips along lightly, Mayle records the highlights of each month, from the aberration of snow in February and the algae-filled swimming pool of March through the tourist invasions and unpredictable renovations of the summer months to a quiet Christmas alone. Throughout the book, he paints colorful portraits of his neighbors, the Provençaux grocers and butchers and farmers who amuse, confuse, and befuddle him at every turn. A Year in Provence is part memoir, part homeowner's manual, part travelogue, and all charming fun. --L.A. Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

They had been there often as tourists. They had cherished the dream of someday living all year under the Provencal sun. And suddenly it happened. Here is the month-by month account of the charms and frustrations that Peter Mayle and his wife -- and their two large dogs -- experience their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Peter Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival. He relishes the growing camaraderie with his country neighbors -- despite the rich, soupy, often impenetrable patois that threatens to separate them. He makes friends with boar hunters and truffle hunters, a man who eats foxes, and another who bites dentists; he discovers the secrets of handicapping racing goats and of disarming vipers. And he comes to dread the onslaught of tourists who disrupt his tranquillity. In this often hilarious, seductive book Peter Mayle manages to transport us info all the earthy pleasures of Provencal life and lets us live vicariously in a tempo governed by seasons, not by days. George Lang, who was smitten suggests: "Get a glass of marc, lean back in your most comfortable chair, and spend a delicious year in Provence."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140296034, 0141037253

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