French Spirits: A House, a Village, and a Love Affair in Burgundy

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9780060188207: French Spirits: A House, a Village, and a Love Affair in Burgundy
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When Jeffrey Greene, a prizewinning American poet, and Mary, his wife-to-be, a molecular biologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, discover a moss-covered stone presbytery in a lovely village in the Puisaye region of Burgundy, they know they have to live there. With an unabashed joie de vivre, they begin the arduous process of procuring their slice of paradise amid the wild beauty of the French countryside -- a place of gentle farmlands and dense forests, of rivers and lakes, of stunning fields bursting with the color and heady scent of wildflowers.

French Spirits is the magical tale of their odyssey to become not just homeowners but Burgundians. In lush, lyrical prose, Greene recalls their experiences turning the three-hundred-year-old stone building -- a "château in miniature," which the locals believe houses numerous spirits--into a habitable refuge. He brings to life their adventures in finding wonderful bargains with which to furnish their new space, including a firm mattress and some rather suspicious "antiques" bought from the back of a van.

Greene offers the unexpected joys and surprises of village life, from celebrating his and Mary's simple backyard wedding to discovering summer fêtes from toiling in a verdant garden to trading insights with new neighbors. He shares the experience of surviving his mother's decision to move in and humorously introduces the locals -- both human and nonhuman -- who define his and Mary's new world. Woven throughout this luscious tale are the pleasures of rural France: wondrous food and wine, long-held rituals and feasts, dark superstitions and deeply rooted history. A memorable feast for the senses, French Spirits will entertain and enlighten all who succumb to its charms.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Greene received his MFA from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He is the author of To the Left of the Worshiper and American Spirituals, which won the 1998 Samuel French Morse Prize. He was also the winner of the Randall Jarrell Prize and the Discovery/The Nation Award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and many other journals and anthologies. He lives in Paris.

From Booklist:

An American renovates a house in France! But what's new here is that the house is in the Burgundy town of Rogny. The region of La Puisaye, with its swamps and murky woods, lacks the immediate attraction of Provence or Normandy. The American builder is celebrated poet Greene and his companion, Mary, a renowned scientist currently at the University of Paris. After finding nothing fit for their taste or budget in better-known Burgundian towns, the author's real estate agent leads them to remote Rogny. Reconstruction efforts center on the town's presbytery, abandoned by the church and its previous owner and ripe for restoration. Friends of the last priest to occupy the grounds and town tradesmen make up the cast of characters, whom Greene makes into neither caricatures nor odd rustics. As always, reconstruction absorbs more time and money than the author had anticipated. The property takes on sentimental significance when Greene and his companion decide to get married there and their families descend on the little town. So attractive the place becomes that Greene's mother emigrates from America. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060934101: French Spirits: A House, a Village, and a Love Affair in Burgundy

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0060934107 ISBN 13:  9780060934101
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2003
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9780732274771: French Spirits : A House, a Village and a Love Affair in Burgundy

Flamingo, 2002
Softcover

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