Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted

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9780060958114: Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted

In 1983, a pale Annie Hawes and her equally pale sister leave England for the sun-drenched olive groves of a small Italian town in Liguria. With fantasies of handsome tanned men and swimming in the sea urging them on, they are hired to work for ten weeks to graft roses -- of which they have little knowledge -- along the Italian Riviera, board and lodging included.

But none of the men seem to be under forty, and Ligurians have particular ideas about life, including swimming ("To go swimming in seawater outside the month of July or August is even worse for your health than drinking cappuccino after twelve noon!"). But Annie and her sister are captivated by San Pietro's quirkiness and beauty, and suddenly their brief stay stretches into years, as they are bemused, charmed, and ultimately accepted by the eccentric inhabitants of their adopted home.

Resonating with captivating verve and humor, Extra Virgin dishes up a sumptuous sampling of Italian life from an irresistible new voice.

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Review:

Fed up with cold, foggy London and the high cost of real estate, Annie Hawes is persuaded by her sister Lucy to travel to Italy and graft roses for the winter. The sisters arrive in rural Liguria with some formal Italian, no knowledge of rose grafting, and visions of Mediterranean men and sun. What they find is a town full of hard-working, wary olive growers smack in the middle of an olive oil depression who think these two young Englishwomen are nuts. Extra Virgin tells the story of the sisters' acclimation--theirs to Liguria and Liguria to them--and how they fell in love with a crumbling farmhouse in the hills.

Annie quickly finds that though they are only two miles from the Italian Riviera, it might as well be a hundred. Liguria is an old town full of time-honored peculiarities, especially in regard to espresso consumption (never, ever, after lunch; it will close your stomach) and swimming before summertime officially starts. "Seawater at the wrong time of year is even worse for your health than coffee at the wrong time of day, and the beach is only deserted because, as far as the citizens are concerned, if you put so much as a toe into the water before June you are certain to die within the week from exposure or pneumonia or both," says Hawes. Eventually, the sisters are accepted by the townsfolk, though they find the idea of the women buying the farmhouse and running it themselves (there are 50 olive trees on the land) fantastical.

Extra Virgin draws you in to the heart of Liguria and its inhabitants. Hawes has a knack for drawing characters and especially for describing the luscious meals that they are served--and eventually learn to cook. "Lucy and I are kindly allowed to make the tomato-and-basil salad," Hawes says, "and do our best not to be offended by being complemented on how like a proper tomato-and-basil salad it is." Pour yourself an espresso (as long as it's before lunch) or a grappa (aids the digestion), and then sit down to enjoy Extra Virgin. --Dana Van Nest

About the Author:

Anne Hawes has worked for the past fifteen years as a freelance film editor. She has lived in France and Africa as well as her native England. She now lives most contentedly in Liguria, Italy.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Perennial ed.. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1983, a pale Annie Hawes and her equally pale sister leave England for the sun-drenched olive groves of a small Italian town in Liguria. With fantasies of handsome tanned men and swimming in the sea urging them on, they are hired to work for ten weeks to graft roses -- of which they have little knowledge -- along the Italian Riviera, board and lodging included.But none of the men seem to be under forty, and Ligurians have particular ideas about life, including swimming ( To go swimming in seawater outside the month of July or August is even worse for your health than drinking cappuccino after twelve noon! ). But Annie and her sister are captivated by San Pietro s quirkiness and beauty, and suddenly their brief stay stretches into years, as they are bemused, charmed, and ultimately accepted by the eccentric inhabitants of their adopted home.Resonating with captivating verve and humor, Extra Virgin dishes up a sumptuous sampling of Italian life from an irresistible new voice. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060958114

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Perennial ed.. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1983, a pale Annie Hawes and her equally pale sister leave England for the sun-drenched olive groves of a small Italian town in Liguria. With fantasies of handsome tanned men and swimming in the sea urging them on, they are hired to work for ten weeks to graft roses -- of which they have little knowledge -- along the Italian Riviera, board and lodging included.But none of the men seem to be under forty, and Ligurians have particular ideas about life, including swimming ( To go swimming in seawater outside the month of July or August is even worse for your health than drinking cappuccino after twelve noon! ). But Annie and her sister are captivated by San Pietro s quirkiness and beauty, and suddenly their brief stay stretches into years, as they are bemused, charmed, and ultimately accepted by the eccentric inhabitants of their adopted home.Resonating with captivating verve and humor, Extra Virgin dishes up a sumptuous sampling of Italian life from an irresistible new voice. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060958114

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