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Hmmmokay 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. 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 muchthan 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. 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. 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 threeor 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 wasas 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 isin 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 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 evenbecause it was relatable I spent a significant amount of time living in a village, welllike 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. 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 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 Lub ron 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 Lub ron country folk can be suspicious of visitors from throughout Europe who descend upon the C te 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 Proven al 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,Voil Oh l l , 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 P rigord truffles grown only in this region. &READ E-PUB ☠ A Year in Provence ↭ National Bestseller In This Witty And Warm Hearted Account, Peter Mayle Tells What It Is Like To Realize A Long Cherished Dream And Actually Move Into AYear Old Stone Farmhouse In The Remote Country Of The Lub Ron With His Wife And Two Large Dogs He Endures January S Frosty Mistral As It Comes Howling Down The Rh Ne Valley, Discovers The Secrets Of Goat Racing Through The Middle Of Town, And Delights In The Glorious Regional Cuisine A Year In Provence Transports Us Into All The Earthy Pleasures Of Proven Al Life And Lets Us Live Vicariously At A Tempo Governed By Seasons, Not By Days 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 saysabout 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 himselfa 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 readlike Green Acres The Continental Version. 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.