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A Year in Provence
by Peter Mayle

Published: 1991-06-04
Paperback : 224 pages
26 members reading this now
33 clubs reading this now
9 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 5 members

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 a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty ...

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Introduction

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 a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône 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 Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.

Editorial Review

Who hasn't dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.

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

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Not my cup of tea"by kristinbluedog (see profile) 06/26/11

This book just seemed kind of pointless and disjointed. There was never any real good flow in the story for me. I had to force myself to finish it.

 
  "Not for Book Clubs"by KarenCl (see profile) 10/25/10

I wasn't really sure how to rate this one. Most of us enjoyed it, but there really wasn't much of a discussion, and we're usually quite a lively group!

 
  "Mixed Reviews"by BSkol (see profile) 06/22/10

A few of us liked the book, the rest thought it had no purpose/point. It didn't seem to spark much of a discussion.

 
  "A Very Satisfying "Year"!"by Librarian50 (see profile) 03/11/10

Peter Mayle and his wife bought a house in Provence, a region in the south of France. A Year in Provence is a month-by-month account of Mayle's experiences during the first year they lived there. Mayle's... (read more)

 
  "A Year In Provence"by krw4him (see profile) 01/10/10

I felt the book started out a little slow, but I'm so glad that I kept reading. Now when I need to zone-out, I picture myself in Provence!!!!

 
  "Good book, but lacked depth and not much to discuss"by KayL (see profile) 08/12/09

This is a fun, informative read, but for a book club pick? Not so much.

 
  "A Year in Provence"by LindaEileen (see profile) 07/05/09

I enjoyed this book, but feel it is a little light for book club discussions.

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