FFB: A Year in Provence

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!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in books, Friday Forgotten Book, reading, Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to FFB: A Year in Provence

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    One of Phil’s favorites.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read the two books back to back in 1993. Great stuff. I also enjoyed the miniseries with John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan.

    Some years later I tried to read the third book in the series but just couldn’t get interested in it. Maybe I should try again.

  3. I’ve seen A YEAR IN PROVENCE in at least a dozen thrift stories. Next time I see it, I’ll pick up a copy.

  4. Yvette says:

    LOVED this book, Richard. A great choice. I’d also recommend ENCORE PROVENCE by Mayle. Both these book are like being ing Provence without the hassle of travel. 🙂 (Though of course I wouldn’t mind the travel at all.)

  5. Richard says:

    I was delighted “find” this on the shelf and read it. Very enjoyable indeed. My wife read it on my reccomendation, and though she primarily reads the dark stuff by such authors as John Connelly, Val McDermid, Carol O’Connell and others, she enjoyed this book too. The other book I have, but have not read is Toujours, Provence.

    George, this one is quick and easy, you’ll probably finish it in an hour or two. Maybe the library would be your best bet.

  6. Carl V. says:

    I really need to read more Mayle. The only book I’ve read of his is “A Good Year”. I’m one (of few, I believe) who fell hard for the Russell Crowe film. It is one my wife and I watch at least once (usually more) a year and since its release I’ve read the book once and listened to it on audio twice. The great thing is that Mayle’s book is on one hand very faithfully adapted and on the other not at all, so reading the book is such a different experience in some ways to the film that I enjoy both experiences very much.

  7. Frank Denton says:

    The Television adaptation with John Thaw was wonderful. If you have Netflix, it’s available.

  8. Richard says:

    Carl, how can a film be both “faithfully adapted” and “not at all”?

    Frank, I wonder if I’d just see Inspector Morse?

  9. Carl V. says:

    I was wondering if you’d ask that. There are essentially two story lines going on in the book and it follows parts of each to the “t” and is incredibly faithful and yet Mayle’s book has this interesting mystery going on in the background about the underground wine market which the film ignores entirely instead choosing to lighten the mystery in favor of a more romantic angle. It makes each a unique experience. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film that included so much stuff from the book and yet went in an entirely different direction with one of the story lines.

  10. Richard says:

    Hmm, I’ll bet they left it our for time reasons. I almost always prefer the book.

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