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Follows the experiences of Richard and Barbara Hewitt, who left the United States to renovate a three-hundred-year-old cottage in a remote Portuguese village
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Another American-couple-moves-to-European-village-and- renovates-a-house book. Hewitt, a builder, jack-of-all-trades, and writer-type, and his wife, Barbara, an artist whose overcute drawings adorn the chapter openings, moved from rural Massachusetts to Portugal with the plan of earning their keep by buying and renovating an old house. Naturally, they are foiled at nearly every turn, encountering the usual combination of rustic hostility, inefficiency, benightedness, charm, warmth, and plain old poverty- stricken stupidity. The house is in Sintra, a small, remote resort city surrounded by fairy tale forests and populated by wily, short unindustrious natives and super-tanned, tall, unindustrious vacationers. Ultimately, of course, the house gets bought and hooked up to water; the renovations get done; the house gets sold; and the book gets written. Unfortunately, Hewitt's account of life in and around Sintra actually conveys little of the true character of either the distinctive natural landscape or the human look and sound. Although Hewitt uses the Peter Mayle model for his own book, his touch is inexpert, and he lacks both a real sense of humor and a knack for storytelling. Among other procedural problems, he inflates his own persona more than an author should, in effect laughing at his own, and his wife's, jokes--always a no-no. Of the genuinely funny bits (of which there mercifully are one or two), there is the time when Antonio, a building crew member, fails to show up for work because his ``mother was visiting from Switzerland.'' Hewitt is given the translation, ``Antonio was drinking kirsch.'' This has a superficial, describe-every-cup-of-coffee-and- glass-of-wine feel that offers little inspiration to prospective Portugal dwellers or dreamers. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
After a few weeks' vacation in Portugal, the Hewitts, a New England couple, decided they wanted to live there. They liked its weather, relaxed pace, gentle people, gorgeous scenery and antiquities. Not far from Lisbon, the ancient, red-roofed castle town of Sintra, set amid forest and lush countryside and within sight of the sea, appealed to them. Here, they believed, their small savings would go a long way; they could buy some tumbled-down house, fix it up and live happily ever after. Never mind that neither of them was fluent in the language; Richard had been studying it and could get along; besides, his skills as a builder, hers as an artist would see them through. But they were unprepared for the suspicious neighbors and stolid bureaucracy, neither of which comprehended why any sane foreigners would want to live there. Their Kafkaesque experiences with contracts, permits, labor, plumbing, electricity and money duplicate those of others who have recorded similar projects in unfamiliar cultures. Though lacking the grace of such accounts as Peter Mayles's A Year in Provence, for a glimpse of country life in Portugal, their story has its moments. The Hewitts now divide their time between Massachusetts and Portugal. illustrations.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Thomas t Beeler, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111574900684
Book Description Thomas t Beeler, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Barbara Finn Hewitt (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1574900684