A Year in Provence

Rating - Read

After my introduction to Peter Mayle as an average author, I watched the rather pleasant ‘A Good Year’ and noted that the movie had been based on Peter Mayle’s book. So when I happened upon this one, I decided to take a chance.

The book is an autobiographical account of the author and his wife’s first year in Provence (and no doubt helped spin off other books based in the South of France). Like so many people the two long to live in constant sunshine, and unlike so many, actually buy a cottage that comes with a winery. Mayle faithfully chronicles each month’s activities – the weather, what the locals do, the progress in their house’s remodelling and so on. The observations are funny, yet show a real love for the neighbourhood and surroundings and a genuine interest in becoming a part of local life.

We learn about the famous lunches that almost always lasts a couple of hours and includes wine, the lack of punctuality, the strong work ethic (when they actually decide to do a job for you) and the weather which is not always sunny.

The book is a pleasant read and launches you into one of those daydreams where you hope to live a relaxed life in the midst of greenery, cultivating grapes or some other vegetable, knowing fully well that you would probably never go the Mayle way. Mayle’s strength lies not so much in concocting detective stories with wafer-thin plots but giving an account of things as they stand.

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