A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle: Book Review

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A Year in Provence

4 Stars

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-law’s 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.

Read an excerpt.

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  1. I loved this book, and the ones that follow. I'm happy you wrote about it. I think it may be one of those books that was huge when it came out but now isn't known or read so much. Maybe your post will bring more people to these fun books.

  2. I loved this book too. I read it after I moved from the USA to New Zealand. We live out in the country and grow olives. It's a good life!

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