~My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle
Today, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Peter Mayle’s first posthumous book and last book has been released.
On January 18th of this year, Peter passed away but not before writing a memoir that will delight and reinvigorate his fans’ love for Provence from the perspective that only he can provide.
I have had the opportunity to receive an advanced copy, and while I am slowing savoring each chapter, each detailed, quaint scene he and his wife Jennie experienced that has not until now been told regarding their move to Provence from Devon in the late eighties, I wanted to make sure TSLL readers knew that it is now available, and I highly recommend picking up your own copy.
While many books we read are certainly to be enjoyed as well as gain much knowledge, knowing it is Mayle’s last makes it all the more necessary to hold, read closely, yet with many smiles and chuckles brought spontaneously by his playful depictions and humorous insights about the locals of Gordes and the Provence region as well as the many tourists who flock to the area in the summer months to soak up the warmth.
I am currently half-way through the book and will be sharing a detailed review next week (a post dedicated solely to this title), but after having just read chapter fourteen “The Pulse of the Village” which invites readers into the local cafes and topics of conversation juxtaposed with the tourists from around the world that are completely unaware of the drama and gossip swirling about, I can attest, it is classic Mayle memoir. Mayle at his best sketching with his words moments upon moments of people, in this case Provençal locals, busyily going about their days, making their living and doing it again tomorrow and the next day as well.
I will leave you with a taste from chapter eleven “Lunch Break” in which he shares recommended restaurants to visit throughout the Provence region followed by a quick quote from chapter eight “Nostalgia is Not Always What It Used to Be”:
Chapter 11: Upon talking about La Closerie in Ansouis:
While food and service are excellent throughout the year, there are two seasons when Olivier, the chef, lets nature do an important part of the work. The first is spring, a time for asparagus in all its forms to make its annual appearance: with a dusting of Parmesan, roasted with garlic, drizzled with butter and balsamic vinegar or the classic vinaigrette, or a dozen other imaginative variations. These are best enjoyed outside, on the restaurant terrace, in the sunshine.”
Chapter 8: Discussing the rise of popularity and quality of rosé in the region:
. . . today there are dozens of vineyards throughout Provence that produce first-class rosé . . . the world seems to have gone pink, perhaps one small sign of an increasing desire for simplicity when we sit down to eat and drink.”
~Now available: My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now
- 192 pages
- published June 26, 2018