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Год в Провансе PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Год в Провансе
Author: Peter Mayle
Publisher: Published January 1st 2008 by Амфора (first published 1989)
ISBN: 9785367007800
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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От издателя Герои этой книги сделали то, о чем большинство из нас только мечтают: они купили в Провансе старый фермерский дом и начали в нем новую жизнь. Первый год в Любероне, стартовавший с настоящего провансальского ланча, вместил в себя еще много гастрономических радостей, неожиданных открытий и порой очень смешных приключений. Им пришлось столкнуться и с нелегкими исп От издателя Герои этой книги сделали то, о чем большинство из нас только мечтают: они купили в Провансе старый фермерский дом и начали в нем новую жизнь. Первый год в Любероне, стартовавший с настоящего провансальского ланча, вместил в себя еще много гастрономических радостей, неожиданных открытий и порой очень смешных приключений. Им пришлось столкнуться и с нелегкими испытаниями, начиная с попыток освоить непонятное местное наречие и кончая затянувшимся на целый год ремонтом. Кроме того, они научились игре в boules, побывали на козьих бегах и познали радости бытия в самой южной французской провинции

30 review for Год в Провансе

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Hmmm...okay. I learned that: 1. With enough money you can relocate to Provence and buy a 200 year old farmhouse with mossy swimming pool, problematic pipes, and a wine cave backing up to the Luberon mountains. Wait, it gets worse! 2. Once you do this everyone who has ever vaguely heard your name and Provence together in the same sentence will attempt to visit whilst you are having a hell of a time fixing the charming antiquated house and bicycling into town. Hard times. 3. Tragedy strikes! Everythi Hmmm...okay. I learned that: 1. With enough money you can relocate to Provence and buy a 200 year old farmhouse with mossy swimming pool, problematic pipes, and a wine cave backing up to the Luberon mountains. Wait, it gets worse! 2. Once you do this everyone who has ever vaguely heard your name and Provence together in the same sentence will attempt to visit whilst you are having a hell of a time fixing the charming antiquated house and bicycling into town. Hard times. 3. Tragedy strikes! Everything in Provence moves at a slower pace- including uninvited house guest departures and the guys you hired to remodel your soon to be awesome Provencal place. You are to be pitied, poor thing, having been forced to survive on mostly fresh breads, herbed cheeses, and the occasional sausage. 4. It can be rough rumbling around in an old car looking for great places to eat. It is a daunting task you face after finding them, having to stuff your face with delicacies drizzled with truffle sauce. 5. The somewhat backwards, rough, but ultimately charming locals are worth talking to- you never know if they'll tell you about how to choose a pig for hunting truffles or inform you that they've booby trapped the area from foreign campers. How quaint, the poor dears! 6. Truly, life in Provence can prove to be much tougher than it seems. But give it a year or so before you decide to go home- at the very least, wait until you have managed to have your grapes harvested by the guy that works your vines-you've got to have your own wine to drink with your breads and cheeses to give you the strength to go on.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Noel

    I read a couple of reviews on goodreads for this book and had to laugh at some of those who felt the book was whiney and written by a rich guy who could afford a super farmhouse with a pool no less! One review said that Mayle went back to England to live. Well – those reviews smack of small minded jealousy. Right now a farmhouse in France can be bought for as little as US$250,000.00; back in 1989 before this became trendy, property values were even more reasonable, especially coming from England I read a couple of reviews on goodreads for this book and had to laugh at some of those who felt the book was whiney and written by a rich guy who could afford a super farmhouse with a pool no less! One review said that Mayle went back to England to live. Well – those reviews smack of small minded jealousy. Right now a farmhouse in France can be bought for as little as US$250,000.00; back in 1989 before this became trendy, property values were even more reasonable, especially coming from England where everything was/is expensive. It was kind of like selling your million dollar house in San Francisco and moving to Iowa – you could buy the entire town for the price of your modest house in California. I don’t think Mayle whined about the repairs to his house – in fact, he took it lightly and with a clear dose of patience and humor. Kudos to the Mayles to manage their money well enough to be able to enjoy the lifestyle which I don’t believe it was at all over the top. Anyhow – I just had to say that. Now for the book. I loved this book. I curled up with a glass of wine (Chilean, sorry) and read this in a couple of evenings. I laughed and laughed and commiserated with the Mayles. The writing is witty and the pace is excellent. It’s a romp through Provence over the course of a year. Peter and his wife have left behind their lives in England to move to Provence, buy a farmhouse and settle in to a slower pace of life. The story starts with the formidable paperwork process in buying a house, and reminded me of the process my son has gone through to rent a simple apartment in Brazil. Frustrating to the point of being funny. Mayle goes on to beautifully describe the climate, which is so different from common knowledge (again, very similar to our Brazilian experience); the absolutely mouthwatering gastronomic descriptions, locals, tourists, and then the never ending quest to fix the house. This part in particular reminded me of the time we bought a “fixer-upper” right on the beach in a beautiful town in Chile, and went through so many similar situations with repairmen and guests. At the time it drove us crazy, but now we look back at those times with a bit more fondness. In any case, Mayle brings the area to life, and does so in a light engaging way.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    The next best thing to living in France, is to read this book. Loved it! It is the first book in this genre which provided a complete picture of life in a rural French town by two Brits moving there.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    Chiens de chasse are too specialised to be bought and sold across a counter, and we were told that no serious hunter would consider buying a pup without first meeting both parents. Judging by some of the hunting dogs we had seen, we could imagine that finding the father might have been difficult, but among all the hybrid curiosities there were three more or less identifiable types - the liver -coloured approximation of a large spaniel, the stretched beagle, and the tall, rail-thin hound with the Chiens de chasse are too specialised to be bought and sold across a counter, and we were told that no serious hunter would consider buying a pup without first meeting both parents. Judging by some of the hunting dogs we had seen, we could imagine that finding the father might have been difficult, but among all the hybrid curiosities there were three more or less identifiable types - the liver -coloured approximation of a large spaniel, the stretched beagle, and the tall, rail-thin hound with the wrinkled, lugubrious face (p.146) I have come late to this book, my parent who bought it came late to it - it had been all the rage and on the best seller lists long before they bought it, and looking inside and seeing that it was published in 1989 it seemed to me that Mayle himself came late to writing it. It is well known that many a British patriot will given a chance buy a residence in France and live there, the homeland easier maybe to love from a safe distance, this seemed to be particularly so when types who had made money on account of the deregulation and privatisations of the 1980s moved to France where life was more as it had been in the 1970s (or earlier). This it turns out wasn't quite true of Mayle who had made his packet of money in advertising in New York, but this book became emblematic of the aspiration of a generation - to sell up, move to France and enjoy the food and drink. This book established itself as the basic and apparently near infinitely repeatable model for books and tv series of metropolitan Englishman heads to foreign country (or non-metropolitan part of Britain) buys old building which is potentially bucolic, spends a year getting it repaired while getting to know the locals, who are amusingly eccentric with delightful physical or sartorial quirks. Perhaps in a nod to Mayle's background in advertising the book is shorter than typical, minus the illustrations maybe under 190 pages while I guess the typical book of this genre is more in the region of 240 pages. As adverts may do it leads to the curl of the lips without leading to full amusement (the above section on dogs I felt the funniest in the entire book). This is very efficient writing. Also true to the genre, change is all on the surface, the only adaptation to local habits is that he takes up the triple kiss as standard greeting. combien de Bises may be of assistance here but given the low number of votes for some departments I wonder if it is entirely accurate. Mayle is curiously present and absent from the book - obviously he is the central figure but we learn nothing about him or his wife who really could have been a man or a particularly clingy kangaroo as far as I could tell from the text, they have some French (unusually for this genre in which humorous inability to communicate with locals may be a key plot point) but they struggle with the way French people speak it. At the same time Mayle is the measure of all humanity - the degree of deviation from Mayle is equal to the extent to which the person is amusingly original or eccentric. A thoughtful publisher could have provided a graphic to illustrate this so we can appreciate precisely how much the guy with bad teeth who eats foxes is funnier than the plumber who always wears a seasonally appropriate hat. The narrative structure of a year is strong and simple, but as each month contains detailed recollections of the places they visited, meals eaten and how much they cost I wondered how accurate and honest this was. The most curious feature to my mind was money, and the details of what things cost - million franc houses, 1,000 francs for a custom made stone table, the price of restaurant meals. Then one got about eight to nine francs for the UK pound so there is the undercurrent that one can live better than a Lord and eat better than the Queen for modest sums of cash money. At the same time he doesn't tell us how much his own house cost or the cost of installing central heating - this is all about living the dream (view spoiler)[ provided you dream of living of living in a stone farm house in Provence and eating fantastic restaurant food at modest prices (hide spoiler)] Perhaps more insidiously it suggests that the good life can be bought rather than cultivated - just the kind of sneaky message one has to expect from an advertising man. There's no sense of why he went to Provence or of developing a connection to it, beyond it as a place where amusing locals live, and beyond food and drink no appreciation of it either except as having better weather than Britain. So its as shallow as a dream too, but easy reading about full fat living. Curiously the same is true about wine which exists for Mayle as white, pink, red and champagne. This despite owning some vines in an appellation controlee and a habit of buying wine direct from producers one of whom speaks lovingly of how micro differences in the vineyard produce differences in the wine. Still Mayle does not open up to us about Terroir - this is an advert, the product has to be simple and seductive, you can't be frightening the punter with complexity and the whole book is shaped by Kiss- as in keep it simple, son - rather than being a modern evocation of Epicureanism. I did learn however that lemon juice freshly squeezed over ants encourages them to move their nest site - very useful if they take up residence in your electricity meter cupboard.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leftbanker

    It’s sad to think that there are probably dozens of great books about people who have moved to France that were rejected by publishers so they could take this book, which is completely devoid of insights, and shove it down our throats. The book has a wonderful premise in which a British guy and his wife move to the south of France and begin a new life. I think most people who read this book didn’t need much more than that. It is mostly the tedious description of the work he does on an old house It’s sad to think that there are probably dozens of great books about people who have moved to France that were rejected by publishers so they could take this book, which is completely devoid of insights, and shove it down our throats. The book has a wonderful premise in which a British guy and his wife move to the south of France and begin a new life. I think most people who read this book didn’t need much more than that. It is mostly the tedious description of the work he does on an old house and has little to do with France. I can’t recall a single entertaining passage in the entire book. I give almost everything here five stars. I’m not a book critic but there are certain extremely popular books that just need to be eviscerated. Please explain to me why this book was popular? After I finished reading this I didn't think that I had learned a single thing about life in France. I found zero sense of adventure in what he had to say about France. It’s travel writing for the rich which—at least for me—is usually boring. Instead of a book about an over-privileged douche bag paying people to fix up an old house I’d much rather read a memoir of someone who moved to France and actually had to work for a living. I rate this book down there with Under the Tuscan Sun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book, many of them focusing on the author's presumption in being able to afford a home in Provence and the reviewers' consequent inability to "relate" to him. Others see it as "trite" and not at all what they were expecting. Well, balderdash. I found this to be a very entertaining account of the first year in a new home and a new country, with all the explorations, discoveries, disappointments, triumphs and failures that go along with it. Would it b I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book, many of them focusing on the author's presumption in being able to afford a home in Provence and the reviewers' consequent inability to "relate" to him. Others see it as "trite" and not at all what they were expecting. Well, balderdash. I found this to be a very entertaining account of the first year in a new home and a new country, with all the explorations, discoveries, disappointments, triumphs and failures that go along with it. Would it be a good basis for discussion in a book group? Probably not. Was it enlightening, or did it change the way I think about things? Can't say that it was, or did. But the author's dry wit, talent for understatement, and occasional eloquence painted an interesting picture of life in Provence, with characters that were by turn amusing, infuriating, puzzling, and human. This book did a great job of carrying me away from Michigan into a place I've never been and experiences I'll likely never have. It was fun!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This is a fun book that is literally about the first year Mayle spent in his new home in Provence. The chapters are divided into months, so a reader gets to enjoy with Mayle the seasonal changes of this beautiful region of France. Mayle understands the importance of gastronomy to the French and his food descriptions are a well written part of his story. Mayle mentions in passing, in an almost disparaging way, people of affluence buying up property in Southern France. This perspective was interes This is a fun book that is literally about the first year Mayle spent in his new home in Provence. The chapters are divided into months, so a reader gets to enjoy with Mayle the seasonal changes of this beautiful region of France. Mayle understands the importance of gastronomy to the French and his food descriptions are a well written part of his story. Mayle mentions in passing, in an almost disparaging way, people of affluence buying up property in Southern France. This perspective was interesting because it says more about Mayle than it does about those other rich people. Mayle is, after all, a wealthy writer from England who is able to purchase a two century old stone house with a stone swimming pool on land that contains a vineyard, a cherry orchard, and other agricultural acreage all tended by a local farmer (the tradition being that the landowner purchases the seed/vines while the farmer does the work. The landowner gets 1/3 of the profit and the farmer gets 2/3--even though it may seem generous and not at all the tenant farming or sharecropping as we know it, it's still being a classic "Landlord"). It seems that Mayle considers himself more a part of the local population than a foreign "Lord of the Manor" type. It made me wonder what the locals really thought of Mayle and his wife. The book is engagingly written and funny in parts; filled with memorable characters. Occasionally, these characters descended to the level of caricature however, so that sometimes the story read more like "Green Acres--The Continental Version."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I found this book walking to the B train this morning. Someone had gotten rid of it. Don't judge me to harshly for my foray into escapism, it makes the morning commute go fast. 1 week or so later... So I've finished it, and although it had its moments where I chuckled a bit, I really didn't find it to be the incredible, evocative travel writing that it had been cracked up to be. The food descriptions were probably the strongest part, and I have to admit I did find my mouth watering on occasion. I found this book walking to the B train this morning. Someone had gotten rid of it. Don't judge me to harshly for my foray into escapism, it makes the morning commute go fast. 1 week or so later... So I've finished it, and although it had its moments where I chuckled a bit, I really didn't find it to be the incredible, evocative travel writing that it had been cracked up to be. The food descriptions were probably the strongest part, and I have to admit I did find my mouth watering on occasion. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm always up for a good renovation story, but Peter Mayle's mind was so distracted with getting his home perfected, that the establishment of place (which is so key to travel writing) suffered for it. The characters are neither larger than life nor realistic, and I didn't really get a sense of personality from anyone except the bumbling country neighbor. Mayle and his wife irritated me with their constant whining about the lack of progress being made on their farmhouse's heating system. I love a bit of daydream fodder, but this didn't really take me anywhere.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    In some ways it wasn't really this book's fault that I didn't like it. It came out in the U.S. in 1990 and was probably one of the first "I-lived-among-the-French-and-they-are-peculiar" memoirs. Since then, there have been countless other memoirs on this same topic, several of which I have read and enjoyed, so by the time I got to this, the flagship volume, the subject matter was a little old hat. Also problematic is that, while some of this book is composed of funny anecdotes, some of it is jus In some ways it wasn't really this book's fault that I didn't like it. It came out in the U.S. in 1990 and was probably one of the first "I-lived-among-the-French-and-they-are-peculiar" memoirs. Since then, there have been countless other memoirs on this same topic, several of which I have read and enjoyed, so by the time I got to this, the flagship volume, the subject matter was a little old hat. Also problematic is that, while some of this book is composed of funny anecdotes, some of it is just Mayle explaining how the French do things (cheek kissing, for example), and those sections not only aren't particularly funny, they're sometimes rather dull. Maybe they were fascinating in 1990, I don't know. But frankly, once you've read David Sedaris on French villagers, Peter Mayle is just never going to stack up. The book does contain the obligatory shout-outs to French paperwork and the way business is conducted there, as well as copious descriptions of food and wine, so it hits all the right marks, and I considered giving it an extra star (3 total) in recognition of the fact that I read it about 25 years too late. But I started to get annoyed at the way Mayle poked fun at French peasants, accusing them of being either penny-pinchers with ancient cars (hilarious, right?), or "greedy" for hoping to sell their houses for high prices. Meanwhile, he was spending a gargantuan sum on remodeling his large Provence house, not to mention all those cases of wine. His ridiculing the less well-off, even if all in good fun, rubbed me the wrong way, so the extra star came right back off. When my sister gave me this book years ago (after she had read it and loved it), she also gave me its sequel, Toujours Provence, but it's going to be a long time before I'll be willing go in for more of this sort of thing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    4 Stars - Fantastic book, would absolutely recommend it. There's really nothing I don't like about this book. It's short, easy to read, and such fun. Peter Mayle, the author, writes in a charming book that, in my opinion makes the people of Provence endearing. As an American, we often hear (or rather we're aware of the stereotype) how stuck-up, abrasive the French are. Albeit, I have met many-a French-person in my day and luckily I have never had this stereotype confirmed. Sure, they're mannerism 4 Stars - Fantastic book, would absolutely recommend it. There's really nothing I don't like about this book. It's short, easy to read, and such fun. Peter Mayle, the author, writes in a charming book that, in my opinion makes the people of Provence endearing. As an American, we often hear (or rather we're aware of the stereotype) how stuck-up, abrasive the French are. Albeit, I have met many-a French-person in my day and luckily I have never had this stereotype confirmed. Sure, they're mannerisms are different but isn't that to be expected? Anyway, I digress. I enjoyed this book even more because it was relatable. I spent a significant amount of time living in a village, well more like a town, in the north of Moldova. Of course a former Soviet, Eastern European country is quite different than France but I was struck by how many similarities there are. For instance, the struggles the author and his wife faced during construction on their house , particularly the timeline is very familiar. In my Moldovan experiences, things don't run on a "city" schedule (e.g. when someone says work starts at 8:00 am, it would be a miracle if that actually happened). Also, the constant advice and interaction with neighbors is similar. It's fascinating. I guess provincial life is similar across the board in Europe, or at least in these two cases.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    "A Year in Provence” is not lesfic, nor is it a new book. Thirty years ago it kicked off a new type of travel book that showed the reader what it would be like to live in an area, not just visit it. Honestly, I expected much more from the book. The first half or two-thirds showed that rich Englishmen and their wives were very condescending toward the rural French. The last part of the book showed more kindness toward the country folks, but only by declaring that the expats were now like them, and "A Year in Provence” is not lesfic, nor is it a new book. Thirty years ago it kicked off a new type of travel book that showed the reader what it would be like to live in an area, not just visit it. Honestly, I expected much more from the book. The first half or two-thirds showed that rich Englishmen and their wives were very condescending toward the rural French. The last part of the book showed more kindness toward the country folks, but only by declaring that the expats were now like them, and the author now wanted us to laugh at the visiting English boors. The book was more a series of unconnected events depicting rural life rather than any real exploration of the lives and personalities of the people. The narrator did a decent job. Overall, the book is a bit disappointing so probably a 2.5* but I’ll round up to 3* because some of the events did make me laugh more than a 2* book would.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Temptations

    Such a fabulous book. If you've never read a book by Peter Mayle I'd really recommend that you do. I've enjoyed all of his books...some of them several times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    J'adore the English sense of humor. With stiff upper lip and wry observation sprinkled with warm affection, Englishman Peter Mayle embraces a cadre of colorful characters inhabiting the warmer south of France in this memoir documenting his first year as a new permanent resident relocated from Britain to the Lubéron region of Provence. A Year In Provence is suitably divided into twelve chapters, each devoted to one month, January through December, staging the progress of renovations on Peter and M J'adore the English sense of humor. With stiff upper lip and wry observation sprinkled with warm affection, Englishman Peter Mayle embraces a cadre of colorful characters inhabiting the warmer south of France in this memoir documenting his first year as a new permanent resident relocated from Britain to the Lubéron region of Provence. A Year In Provence is suitably divided into twelve chapters, each devoted to one month, January through December, staging the progress of renovations on Peter and Madame’s newly purchased two hundred year old home. Over the course of the year it becomes clear that here time is measured in seasons, not days, and that the tempo in Provence would not change for newcomers. A project as simple as moving an antique concrete planter into the garden, for example, is not something that can be arranged overnight. “There would be visits of inspection, drinks, heated arguments. Dates would be fixed, and then forgotten. Shoulders would be shrugged and time would pass by.” The author has a special penchant for observing human nature and describing it both with humor and heart. Lubéron country folk can be suspicious of visitors from throughout Europe who descend upon the Côte d’Azur in the summer months, including German campers, Belgian road hogs, Swiss hotel dwellers, and the British with their notoriously weak stomachs and plumbing complaints; but the Provençal people are warm, amiable, and all too eager to ensure their friends are well fed. The absolute joy of Provence is the food and free flowing local wine, which refreshes even the most curious of exchanges such as unexpected house calls made by traveling Oriental rug salesmen or visits paid by French bureaucrats at Christmastime to hint for annual tips. These pages are peppered with French, “Voilà!” “Oh là là,” “Allez,” which enhances the feel for a foreigner’s life in France as well as doubling as a grammar in simple and useful phrases to those readers who are sure to add Provence to their must-see list. This account is often laugh-out-loud hilarious and is every bit as savory as the much sought after and highly prized black Périgord truffles grown only in this region.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    2.5 stars, ok +. I'll give the next two a go!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cyndy Aleo

    In the course of thinning out my book herd, I've been reading books that I haven't read in years, trying to determine whether I should keep them, or move them along. Going back to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence was like going back to an old friend's house, but I've never been so hungry in my life as the two times I've read this book. ::: The Dream ::: Mayle and his wife live out a dream come true, dropping everything, selling their home, and moving full-time to Provence, a region of France gener In the course of thinning out my book herd, I've been reading books that I haven't read in years, trying to determine whether I should keep them, or move them along. Going back to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence was like going back to an old friend's house, but I've never been so hungry in my life as the two times I've read this book. ::: The Dream ::: Mayle and his wife live out a dream come true, dropping everything, selling their home, and moving full-time to Provence, a region of France generally known to span from the Alps to the Rhône River, with the Côte d'Azur in the southern section. Known for its food, its wine, and its perfumes, it is a popular vacation destination in Europe, with a generally Mediterranean climate. Mayle's book chronicles their first year in the 200-year-old farmhouse that they bought in a rural area of Provence, including their struggles with the language, renovation of the house, and settling in with their new neighbors. ::: The Year ::: A Year in Provence is broken into twelve chapters, one per month, beginning in January as they start out their new life in Provence and ending with their first Christmas. What makes the book so interesting (and for me, misplaced in the travel section) is that it focuses much more on the culture of Mayle's area of Provence rather than on the scenery. He includes tales of restaurants and meals eaten there, but even more memorable than the food are the chefs and servers that he meets, the additional knowledge and culture that they often impart. One woman sends Mayle to an olive oil mill, and we learn about the world of olive oil, which is almost as intricate as that of wine. Even better are the characters Mayle introduces us to. We meet Faustin, who runs the vineyard on Mayle's property, the curmudgeonly neighbor Massot, and a host of skilled laborers who are in and out most of the year while working on the home renovations. Each individual the Mayles meet helps them on their journey from tourists who moved to Provence to something resembling natives. Each experience, from goat races to plumbing issues, is related in such detail that you almost believe you are there, and reading this book on an empty stomach will leave you pricing flights online. ::: The Final Say ::: A Year in Provence is one of those books that you can read a chapter every so often, or all at once. Like one of the excellent meals Mayle describes, it's a delicious read, and leaves you hungering not only for the food, but also for more on some of the characters. You feel as if they have become old friends, and I'm eagerly anticipating re-reading the follow-up, Toujours Provence. This review previously published at Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/A_Year...

  16. 5 out of 5

    ❂ Jennifer

    One of those beautiful, descriptive memoirs that make me want to sell everything I own for a house in France (or Italy) and a life of tranquility and luxurious food. Only slightly more wordy review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/123517...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    3.5 stars. Well, this was a very charming read. The whole "o hay we moved 2 provence, awesome rite?" thing wasn't nearly as obnoxious as I thought it was going to be, although I still think these travelogues are highly masturbatory in nature. Peter Mayle has a light touch with a pen (I think I read the whole thing in under five hours), and a real flair for characterisation. I admire a man who can sketch a portrait in a sentence, like this bit describing his uncle, for example: "'Puke in private, 3.5 stars. Well, this was a very charming read. The whole "o hay we moved 2 provence, awesome rite?" thing wasn't nearly as obnoxious as I thought it was going to be, although I still think these travelogues are highly masturbatory in nature. Peter Mayle has a light touch with a pen (I think I read the whole thing in under five hours), and a real flair for characterisation. I admire a man who can sketch a portrait in a sentence, like this bit describing his uncle, for example: "'Puke in private, dear boy,' he used to say." One of the other things in the plus column is that despite the fact that he describes over half a dozen different meals, he doesn't go into great detail about the actual food. He is not that great at making you salivate. This is a good thing. I hate books that make me miserable about what I'm having for dinner in reality. It would have been okay in this particular case, I guess, since it was Thanksgiving weekend that featured, among other things, roast duck with pineapple, strawberry-cranberry sauce, yams, roast pork, Black Forest cake, pumpkin pie made from scratch, potato pie, and other tasties, but whatever. No, this book is mainly about the lifestyle in Provence. It doesn't over-romanticise it, but it's clearly relaxing and lovely and healthy and all those good things. I think I am going to read the sequel in case some of the same people appear in it too. Especially Bennett. Bennett is awesome. Book club notes: pp.36-37: funny rant about people inviting themselves. Also: "Drink your coffee before it gets dirty." p.49: LEARN HOW TO MAKE TRANCHES DOREES. p.87: Hilarious bit about burglaries. "He looked at me as if I had committed an act of terminal lunacy. 'You must be protected immediately. I will send a man this afternoon. Stay en garde until he comes.'" p.112: Ah, the gay English uncle. "Puke in private, dear boy." p.124: BENNETT!

  18. 5 out of 5

    JG (The Introverted Reader)

    Peter Mayle and his wife finally decide to say goodbye to dreary British weather and move to sunny Provence in France. This book tells about their experiences living in Provence, from the colorful locals to the excellent food to the workmen who come and go like forces of nature. This book had me ready to go on vacation in Provence. Notice that I don't say "move to Provence." I would starve. All those lovingly written descriptions of French food left me cold. I could survive for a week or two thou Peter Mayle and his wife finally decide to say goodbye to dreary British weather and move to sunny Provence in France. This book tells about their experiences living in Provence, from the colorful locals to the excellent food to the workmen who come and go like forces of nature. This book had me ready to go on vacation in Provence. Notice that I don't say "move to Provence." I would starve. All those lovingly written descriptions of French food left me cold. I could survive for a week or two though. Parts of this had me roaring with laughter. My favorite part was probably the goat race. Oh my gosh! I read this on one of my last nights at my old job, and let me tell you, I was doing my best to hold back my laughter while sitting around on my downtime in the emergency room, but little snickers and giggles were escaping, and I had tears rolling down my face. Not exactly the appropriate place for that, but luckily I was tucked away in my little corner, and I don't think anybody noticed. I hope. Another of my favorite parts was the translation of the French person's body language. I'm sure it's different, but I hope this gives me a place to start in translating my Cuban father-in-laws body language. He doesn't just tell a story, he enacts it, with hands flying everywhere. I think any homeowner can relate to the stories of the workmen. At least these guys did show up, but, wow, I don't know if that's good or bad. The Mayles did come up with an ingenious way to get them back to work though. I may have to give that a try sometime... So there's no big, earth-shattering plot here. This still felt like a vacation in a book, and it's nice to come across those every once in a while.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Silva

    I vacationed in the Luberon area of France this year, the setting of Peter Mayle's book and mini series. My friend had read his book prior to arranging the trip and as expected the familiarity was a great starting point. I decided to wait on reading the book until after the trip. I wanted to experience it all first hand. After a truly fabulous time walking all over, eating pretty much nonstop, fumbling with French to the always very polite shop keepers, going to see every little town's offering I vacationed in the Luberon area of France this year, the setting of Peter Mayle's book and mini series. My friend had read his book prior to arranging the trip and as expected the familiarity was a great starting point. I decided to wait on reading the book until after the trip. I wanted to experience it all first hand. After a truly fabulous time walking all over, eating pretty much nonstop, fumbling with French to the always very polite shop keepers, going to see every little town's offering of charm,on and on excitement and beauty. An old graveyard, picking apples in an ignored field, finding treasures along the road and even a colorful local or two, the week was up and we had to move on. On the plane ride home I read Mayle's take. It was wonderful recognizing the landscape and the homes and the general feel for the place, the daily markets. I did not encounter home upkeep issues which played such a constant and mainly humorous part of the book and the colorful and rather broadly drawn locals were simply business like and charming in my real like experience. But recapturing the visual of the magical was something A Year In Provence did very well, and for this reason I will pick this book up every few years to relive the Luberon.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Snap

    I've been cleaning out the bookshelves and found A YEAR IN PROVENCE. I know I read this book when it was first published and remembered enjoying Mayle's chronicles of the year he and his wife moved to Provence. I thought it was the perfect weekend read and I was correct! I enjoyed visiting Provence again. There is a certain rhythm to life in Provence. Mayle's sketches of his neighbors, laborers, markets and restaurants; the customs of the country and the pleasure and frustrations of home ownersh I've been cleaning out the bookshelves and found A YEAR IN PROVENCE. I know I read this book when it was first published and remembered enjoying Mayle's chronicles of the year he and his wife moved to Provence. I thought it was the perfect weekend read and I was correct! I enjoyed visiting Provence again. There is a certain rhythm to life in Provence. Mayle's sketches of his neighbors, laborers, markets and restaurants; the customs of the country and the pleasure and frustrations of home ownership were all entertaining. Food, food and more food! A fun and delightful re-read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Todd Wright

    The idea for this book was borrowed from Green Acres. Mayle loves living in the country but immediately needs to update his house in an effort to make it more familiar. Wow, look at the crazy locals, they carry guns and use dogs to hunt. Contractors don't meet their deadlines. People take three hours for lunch. Table grapes are picked by hand (who knew.) Mayle eventually comes to love living in Provence and, without irony, complains about others moving to the area and spoiling the atmosphere. Good The idea for this book was borrowed from Green Acres. Mayle loves living in the country but immediately needs to update his house in an effort to make it more familiar. Wow, look at the crazy locals, they carry guns and use dogs to hunt. Contractors don't meet their deadlines. People take three hours for lunch. Table grapes are picked by hand (who knew.) Mayle eventually comes to love living in Provence and, without irony, complains about others moving to the area and spoiling the atmosphere. Good writing makes this book tolerable, but the hipster attitude is difficult to tolerate.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nooilforpacifists

    Not as funny as he thinks he is. Goes on and on--starry-eyed Anglo-Saxon loose in flinty Province, kept afloat by uncontrollable electricians and incompetent plumbers. And, ultimately, by profits from this best-seller. Major result of publication, and sequel, has been increase in prices in Auberges and -- worse yet -- doubling the price of nearby Michelin 1, 2 and 3 star restaurants (L'Auberge Procençale; La Bonne Étape: Le Dispason; Méo).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Goroyan

    Կարդալուց հետո ուզում ես գնալ ու որոշ ժամանակ փոքրիկ ֆրանսիական գյուղում ապրել։ Լի էր տաքուկ, պուպուշ ու ծիծաղելի պատմություններով։ Միակ բանը, որ դուրս չեկավ այն էր, որ չափից դուրս երկար էր նման գործի համար։ Ինչ-որ պահի դարձավ բավականին անհետաքրքիր ու դժվար ընթեռնելի։

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pavone

    When we lived in Luxembourg in 2008 and 2009, we visited Paris every few months; a two-hour train ride. Then I started writing novels that take place at least partially in Paris, and so I've visited a few times for research, and another couple of times on book tour. So I've been to Paris about 10 times in the past decade, and have seen plenty of other beautiful parts of France--the Dordogne and the Lot, Bordeaux and the Loire, the Haut Savoie and the Pyrenees--but never Provence. Until this summ When we lived in Luxembourg in 2008 and 2009, we visited Paris every few months; a two-hour train ride. Then I started writing novels that take place at least partially in Paris, and so I've visited a few times for research, and another couple of times on book tour. So I've been to Paris about 10 times in the past decade, and have seen plenty of other beautiful parts of France--the Dordogne and the Lot, Bordeaux and the Loire, the Haut Savoie and the Pyrenees--but never Provence. Until this summer. It's no surprise that this corner of France is beautiful, and charming, and while there I decided to give Peter Mayle's book a try. A YEAR IN PROVENCE was a commercial phenomenon when I started working in the publishing business in the early 90s, but it seemed like exactly the sort of sentimental, romanticized fluff that I didn't want any part of. It's possible that if I'd read the book back then, when I was 23, I would have hated it. But we were just in France to celebrate my 50th birthday (split between Paris and the Luberon), and my tastes are very different now; the whole me is very different. And I absolutely loved this book. It is indeed sentimental and romanticized, but apparently so am I.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    [3.5] Back in the early 90's, A Year in Provence was a favourite easy target for satirists and alternative comedians on British TV. Now in my 30s, with a new liking for books about moving to the country and doing up an old house, I wanted to find out what this object of so many jokes was really like. And, much as I love it when I genuinely disagree with haterz, I can kind of see the satirists' point. There is, nevertheless, much to like about this book. It can be enjoyably escapist and it has some [3.5] Back in the early 90's, A Year in Provence was a favourite easy target for satirists and alternative comedians on British TV. Now in my 30s, with a new liking for books about moving to the country and doing up an old house, I wanted to find out what this object of so many jokes was really like. And, much as I love it when I genuinely disagree with haterz, I can kind of see the satirists' point. There is, nevertheless, much to like about this book. It can be enjoyably escapist and it has some lovely descriptions of places and customs. It's a very easy and fast read, without being dumbed down or badly written, and is fairly witty; so in many ways it was a great book to read when not feeling well. But its main fault is one I particularly dislike, so it gets 3 stars rather than 4. In other books of this ilk, we see the authors making friends with local people, becoming part of the place socially as well as materially. Mayle gets to know people, yes, but he talks about them with a detachment that is subtly condescending. I'm not sure he even means it that way; it's probably a form of old-fashioned British reserve, but it can come across like a more polite and stealthy means of saying "look at these funny Frogs with their strange customs and lazy ways, hahaha". Oddly, he never reflects on the costs of their house project or personal good fortune - even in the light of being glad they can afford this lifestyle these days, though they couldn't when younger, as may often be heard from better-off middle-aged to older people. This creates another layer of detachment from most readers. And whilst he has good words to say about many things, such as quality food and beautiful landscapes, I don't hear the sort of unbridled enthusiasm and immersion in experience which makes me warm to the authors of memoirs.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joan Reeves

    Part Travelogue; Part Love Letter I loved this charming book. My interest was stirred by the Russell Crowe film A Good Year which was based on Mr. Mayle's book. The movie is heartwarming, witty, and full of sweet charm, and tjh. Naturally I had to seek out the author of the book from which the movie was adapted. In doing so, I bought all of the other books written by Peter Mayle an ex-patriot Englishman living the life we all want to live in Provence. Thus I began the first of his books A YEAR IN Part Travelogue; Part Love Letter I loved this charming book. My interest was stirred by the Russell Crowe film A Good Year which was based on Mr. Mayle's book. The movie is heartwarming, witty, and full of sweet charm, and tjh. Naturally I had to seek out the author of the book from which the movie was adapted. In doing so, I bought all of the other books written by Peter Mayle an ex-patriot Englishman living the life we all want to live in Provence. Thus I began the first of his books A YEAR IN PROVENCE, his twelve-month epistle of establishing a new home in the Provençale region of France. The articulate Mr. Mayle, a refugee from the advertising business, is of course articulate. More importantly though, he has a fondness for his subject matter and a humorous delivery that will at times make you smile and at other times make you roar with laughter. The book is part travelogue and part love letter to Provence that will make you wish with every fiber of your being that you could find a similar Provençal farm house with land growing grape vines and fruit trees and shuck this rat race for the tranquil life described by Mr. Mayle. If you haven't read this book, get a copy from your favorite online or local bookstore. I must warn you about one thing though. Don't do as I did initially and read a chapter at bedtime. The descriptions of the food consumed by the Mayles and their French neighbors and friends will make your mouth water. You'll find yourself in the kitchen uncorking a bottle of pinot noir and rooting through the fridge for a block of cheese.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Эту книгу можно описать всего двумя словами - "МЕЧТЫ СБЫВАЮТСЯ" :D Поддавшись порыву, супружеская пара из Англии осуществляет свою давнюю мечту - покупают небольшой фермерский домик на юге Франции в Провансе. Но герои даже не подозревали, что покупка дома обернется настоящей серией приключений. Жить в Провансе не так-то просто, их на каждом шагу будут подстерегать неожиданные открытия, новые знакомства, смешные и нелепые ситуации. "Год в Провансе" - это потрясающе светлая, очаровательная и смешна Эту книгу можно описать всего двумя словами - "МЕЧТЫ СБЫВАЮТСЯ" :D Поддавшись порыву, супружеская пара из Англии осуществляет свою давнюю мечту - покупают небольшой фермерский домик на юге Франции в Провансе. Но герои даже не подозревали, что покупка дома обернется настоящей серией приключений. Жить в Провансе не так-то просто, их на каждом шагу будут подстерегать неожиданные открытия, новые знакомства, смешные и нелепые ситуации. "Год в Провансе" - это потрясающе светлая, очаровательная и смешная книга. Читала в запой, ее просто невозможно отложить. Безумно понравится главный герой, от чьего лица видеться повествование, я не переставала восхищаться тем, как он подмечал разные мелочи, как запоминал то, что ему рассказывали и как использовал эти знания на практики. Еще не могу не отметить тот факт, что книга впервые была издана в 1989 году, но у истории совершенно нет временных рамок, читая ее, легко представить, что в такое приключение попали люди живущие и в 2014-15 гг. Не знаю почему, но лично мне такие истории очень импонируют. Ну и , конечно, не могу не предупредить. Если вы любите поесть, это книгу не стоит читать без бутерброда, шоколадки или еще какого-нибудь снэка. Я вообще не гурман, но БОЖЕ, столько в книге еды и как это все интересно, живо и аппетитно описано. Под конец книги я не удержалась, зашла в хлебный, купила себе длинный батон и плавленный сыр, разрезала батон пополам, намазала его сыром и съела ПОЛОВИНУ батона за раз! XD

  28. 4 out of 5

    Negin

    I read right this before our visit to Provence, which has turned out to be one of my favorite places on earth. I was quite excited to read this since I’d always heard such great stuff about it. The book started out nicely enough but then became rather repetitive. Most of the stories were about renovating the author’s home in Provence and various dinner parties. There wasn’t much of a plot at all. I ended up skipping lots of pages and being quite bored, except of course for the parts describing f I read right this before our visit to Provence, which has turned out to be one of my favorite places on earth. I was quite excited to read this since I’d always heard such great stuff about it. The book started out nicely enough but then became rather repetitive. Most of the stories were about renovating the author’s home in Provence and various dinner parties. There wasn’t much of a plot at all. I ended up skipping lots of pages and being quite bored, except of course for the parts describing food, since I really do love food! According to the author, the French simply adore their food, something that I can fully relate to. Some of my favorite quotes: “The French are as passionate about food as other nationalities are about sport and politics." “We remembered being told that the French spend as much of their income on their stomachs as the English do on their cars and stereo systems, and we could easily believe it.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Peter Mayle duce o viaţă frumoasă şi calmă. Sunt fericit că mai există încă oameni care se bucură din lucruri mărunte. Mai vreau să vă zic ceva: Vreau să mă mut în Provence!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mireille

    My mother just sold her house and is emptying the bookshelves; I knew my parents had loved this book from way back when, and we're all big Provence fans (I mean, just look at my name), so I thought I'd salvage this book and its sequel from the little free library. Sadly, it was only okay. Not much happens, and I didn't find it charming enough? If that makes any sense? Nothing bad, and it was a short read (each chapter pretty much exactly my commute's length!) so no harm done, but yeah.

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