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The Fly-Truffler: A Novel

Gustaf Sobin

165 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0393048322 / ISBN 13: 9780393048322
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: First edition. ] Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company Pub Date: 1/1/2000 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 155 First edition. Bookseller Inventory # 3315822

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Title: The Fly-Truffler: A Novel

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Philippe Cabassac has fly-truffled -- the art of stalking the flies that lay their eggs directly over the truffles -- every winter since childhood on his family estate in Provence. Since the death of his young wife, Julieta, the truffles have come to represent something far more than a delicacy for Cabassac's palate: they trigger an evocative sequence of dream visions in which he and his lost wife enter, on winter nights, a state of intimate and prolonged communion_ As Cabassac becomes increasingly involved in his dream life with Julieta, he loses his hold on his teaching obligations, on managing his estate, on his waking life altogether.Set against the fading of traditional Provencal culture and an incandescent Mediterranean landscape The Fly-Truffler celebrates a love that, by its very ardor, outlasts a lifetime.

Review:

Each winter Philippe Cabassac taps through the undergrowth on his estate, murmuring entreaties to lei mousco, or flies. Drawn by the rich scent of truffles, flies lay their eggs in the loose topsoil, and Cabassac uses their presence to dig for the mysterious delicacy he calls "far more carnal, fleshy, gamelike than anything vegetal." And in this case, these black truffles have a strange additional power, one that gives Cabassac's hunt a special urgency: eating them brings on dreams of his dead wife, Julieta.

Approaching 50, the hero of The Fly-Truffler is a solidly built linguistics professor whose pet subject is the dying Provençal dialect. He lives in a dilapidated farmhouse, the family home for eight generations, selling off a parcel of land each year in order to make ends meet. Every sale is a kind of small betrayal, for Cabassac's roots in the Provençal landscape run deep. Like his ancestors, he goes "truffling every winter, gathering wild asparagus in the spring, flowering medicinal herbs each summer, and a plethora of pale, speckled mushrooms each fall." He belongs there as utterly as his young wife belonged nowhere.

Julieta was the most enigmatic of Cabassac's students. A tall, aquiline-nosed orphan, she grasped at the Provençal dialect as if by doing so she could forge herself an identity and a history. Their marriage was brief yet, for Cabassac, idyllic. Now, in eating the rich flesh of truffles, he seems to exchange "one buried thing for another." Desperate to prolong his nighttime contact with Julieta, he soon neglects teaching, his estate, and indeed all the obligations of his waking life--except for hunting the keys to the underworld where his wife dwells. As pungent and rich as one of Cabassac's truffle omelets, poet Gustaf Sobin's novel is a lyrical meditation on loss, love, and memory, as well as a vivid portrait of Provençal life. --Lisa Gee

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