this is the 75th in my series of forgotten books
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, published by Alfred Knopf 1990 hardcover
This is an absolutely delightful book. I’ve had it and it’s sequel, Toujours Provence, in a double boxed set sitting on the shelf for years. One day recently spotted it and thought “it’s time I read that. I’m really glad I did. Here’s the summary from Pub. Weekly:
“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”
If you haven’t ever read this and would like a break from the oncoming winter doldrums, it’s the perfect antidote!
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links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase