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Encore Provence by Peter Mayle

Encore Provence (1999)

by Peter Mayle

Series: Provence (3)

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A victim of his own success, Mayle was imprudent enough to write A Year in Provence without changing names of neighbours and villages, bringing him what eventually became an unmanageable number of unannounced guests. After fleeing to the US for 4 years, they returned to France, choosing a new home and village but staying firmly in Provence.

Encore Provence is the collection of essays from the years following his self-imposed exile and this time he was smart enough to change the names to protect the innocent (or privacy-inclined).

I enjoyed the first two books, but I think I liked this one a bit better. I found more of the essays enjoyable and informative: rather than merely making me wish I lived in a gorgeous, centuries old - but recently updated - farmhouse in Provence, these essays also taught me a few things and gave me food for thought.

Now I really want to go truffle hunting. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 13, 2016 |
I read Mayle's first 2 books and loved them. This one was not as interesting to me. This was more of a how-to-guide on finding just the right things in Provence, i.e. honey, corkscrews, cheese, etc. Your enjoyment I think will depend on if you're going to be in the region and need assistance on what Mayle considers "best". I did like the book, but I did not love the book. ( )
  kp9949 | Nov 25, 2012 |
Mayle is a wonderful storyteller. He makes the warmth of the region come alive.southern France is different from its northern brother and Mayle articulates it eith humor. A definite. Recommend ( )
  Harrod | Aug 21, 2012 |
A selection of anecdotes about life as an expat in Provence. Some of the themes are familiar from his earlier books, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. A perfect lazy holiday read – light and entertaining. ( )
  cazfrancis | Jul 17, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679762698, Paperback)

"Provence, again?" one may think, seeing Peter Mayle's latest effort. "Has the man nothing better to do than promote a region that's already overhyped and overpriced? Can't he turn his eye to a place that needs a touristic boost, like Bulgaria?"

However, there are reasons to plunge into the third Provençal book by Englishman Mayle, formerly a Madison Avenue copywriter whose bestselling A Year in Provence made the area a must-see for tourists and helped to quadruple real estate prices there. After four years in Long Island, Mayle has returned to France with continuing adoration.

Mayle discloses a world missed by tourists, be it the questions dry cleaners ask about wine stains or the mysterious murder of a small-town butcher given to making housewives happy with more than his displayed meat. He also incorporates guide-like tips--listing markets, cheese makers, and the essential how-tos of perfume sniffing and olive-oil tasting. What's more, this book gives a peek into the life of a bestselling writer. The role is not always an enviable one.

Mayle no longer fits into life in America--the vocabulary alone is enough to throw him off--yet in Provence, he is regarded as little more than a moneyed foreigner. Speared by the British press, he laments, "One of my crimes is to have encouraged people to visit the region ... far too many people ... and people of the wrong sort," an accusation that he denies.

And Mayle comes off as positively defensive in his attack of former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, who wrote that she was disappointed in the region. The title alone of chapter 3 hints at the sarcastic stabbings to follow: "New York Times Restaurant Critic Makes Astonishing Discovery: Provence Never Existed." Page after page, he roasts Reichl on the spit, creating a hissing Ruth Rotisserie that's most unbecoming from someone of his stature.

What most causes him to sputter is Reichl's admission that she "had been dreaming of a Provence that never existed."

"Where had I been living all these years?" writes the man who's helped to perpetrate the illusion of a land that is nothing but lavender fields, sunflowers swaying in the breeze, and fascinating characters every millimeter. "The Provence that Daudet, Giono, Ford Madox Ford, Lawrence Durrell and M.F.K. Fisher knew and wrote about--the Provence that I know--doesn't exist.... It's a sunny figment of our imagination, a romanticized fantasy."

Maybe. Having recently visited Provence, I agree with Reichl's critical assessment. Therein lies Mayle's ultimate charm. Crack open a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, delve into Encore Provence, and voilà: it may be better than actually being there. --Melissa Rossi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:25 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The author continues his celebration of Provence in a new collection of culinary delights, profiles of colorful Gallic characters, and personal observations.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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