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Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France

Mayle, Peter

9,723 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679441247 / ISBN 13: 9780679441243
Published by Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York, 1999
Used Condition: As New Hardcover
From Jay Toelkes (Salem, OR, U.S.A.)

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1999,1999 stated First Edition, First Printing, AS New Book, As New Unclipped jacket, 226 clean tight unmarked rough cut pages, full blue boards with blind stamped sunshine on the front cover, gilt stamped lettering on the spine, jacket is tan with purple and gray lettering, color illustrations of a person on a bicycle, an elderly man, a suit jacket hanging on a pillar, 6/99 on inside rear jacket. b/w photo of the author on the back jacket, jacket in mylar protective cover. Bookseller Inventory # 001683

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South...

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France, by Mayle, Peter

Review:

"Provence, again?" one may think, seeing Peter Mayle's latest effort. "Has the man nothing better to do than promote a region that's already overhyped and overpriced? Can't he turn his eye to a place that needs a touristic boost, like Bulgaria?"

However, there are reasons to plunge into the third Provençal book by Englishman Mayle, formerly a Madison Avenue copywriter whose bestselling A Year in Provence made the area a must-see for tourists and helped to quadruple real estate prices there. After four years in Long Island, Mayle has returned to France with continuing adoration.

Mayle discloses a world missed by tourists, be it the questions dry cleaners ask about wine stains or the mysterious murder of a small-town butcher given to making housewives happy with more than his displayed meat. He also incorporates guide-like tips--listing markets, cheese makers, and the essential how-tos of perfume sniffing and olive-oil tasting. What's more, this book gives a peek into the life of a bestselling writer. The role is not always an enviable one.

Mayle no longer fits into life in America--the vocabulary alone is enough to throw him off--yet in Provence, he is regarded as little more than a moneyed foreigner. Speared by the British press, he laments, "One of my crimes is to have encouraged people to visit the region ... far too many people ... and people of the wrong sort," an accusation that he denies.

And Mayle comes off as positively defensive in his attack of former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, who wrote that she was disappointed in the region. The title alone of chapter 3 hints at the sarcastic stabbings to follow: "New York Times Restaurant Critic Makes Astonishing Discovery: Provence Never Existed." Page after page, he roasts Reichl on the spit, creating a hissing Ruth Rotisserie that's most unbecoming from someone of his stature.

What most causes him to sputter is Reichl's admission that she "had been dreaming of a Provence that never existed."

"Where had I been living all these years?" writes the man who's helped to perpetrate the illusion of a land that is nothing but lavender fields, sunflowers swaying in the breeze, and fascinating characters every millimeter. "The Provence that Daudet, Giono, Ford Madox Ford, Lawrence Durrell and M.F.K. Fisher knew and wrote about--the Provence that I know--doesn't exist.... It's a sunny figment of our imagination, a romanticized fantasy."

Maybe. Having recently visited Provence, I agree with Reichl's critical assessment. Therein lies Mayle's ultimate charm. Crack open a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, delve into Encore Provence, and voilà: it may be better than actually being there. --Melissa Rossi

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