STARRED REVIEW
July 2018

Looking back on a wonderful life

By Peter Mayle

“It started,” Peter Mayle begins, “with a break in the weather.” After two weeks of a rainy Mediterranean vacation, Mayle and his wife, Jennie, set out to look for sun and explore Provence on their way home to England. They quickly fell in love with the beautiful region of southeastern France.

Share this Article:

“It started,” Peter Mayle begins, “with a break in the weather.” After two weeks of a rainy Mediterranean vacation, Mayle and his wife, Jennie, set out to look for sun and explore Provence on their way home to England. They quickly fell in love with the beautiful region of southeastern France.

After the couple uprooted their lives and moved to Provence, Mayle wrote his beloved 1991 memoir, A Year in Provence. My Twenty-Five Years in Provence is the last volume of travel writing from Mayle, who died in France in January 2018, and it is a bittersweet pleasure.

It’s hard to believe that the initial print run of A Year in Provence was only 3,000 copies, as the book quickly became a sensation. For many readers, the aspiring novelist (his fiction never attained the popularity of his accounts of a delectable café lunch) put Provence on the map.

In this final memoir, Mayle returns to the beginning, recounting the couple’s early days house-hunting, learning the language and falling in love with the culture. This is France, so of course food and wine play a large part in his writing. But while Mayle can pen a mouthwatering description of bouillabaisse, what has always drawn readers to his writing are his loving portraits of people, community and the Provençal way of life.

“Lunch is taken very seriously in Provence,” Mayle discovered early on. So it’s fitting that as he makes his way home from the village market, basket piled high with warm bread, fragrant cheese, cherries, grapes and fresh eggs, Mayle’s last words to us are, “I must go. Lunch is calling.”

 

This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence

By Peter Mayle
Knopf
ISBN 9780451494528

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!