'A Year in Provence' Author's Final Book Is Your Passport to the South of France
The posthumously published memoir from Peter Mayle will reignite your Provençal wanderlust.
If you've ever dreamed of escaping to the South of France, you'll find a kindred spirit in British author Peter Mayle — whose move to Ménerbes decades ago inspired his 1989 memoir, “A Year in Provence.”
That book quickly became a bestseller, cementing the region’s place in the public imagination and kicking off Mayle’s fruitful new career as a chronicler of the personalities and particularities of southern France. His later works include two more Provençal memoirs — “Toujours Provence” and “Encore Provence” — and “A Good Year,” a novel which was adapted into a 2006 film of the same name starring Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.
Mayle passed away in January, but not before completing one last book: “My Twenty-Five Years in Provence,” out now from Knopf. His final work is a warm, nostalgia-soaked look at the place he loved so dearly, packed with fond recollections of the pleasures of life in the region, from pastis to Pétanque.
One entire chapter is dedicated to Mayle’s favorite meals: springtime asparagus at La Closerie in Ansouis; bouillabaisse at Peron, in Marseilles; bresaola and fiadone, a Corsican cheesecake, at Le Comptoir, in Lourmarin.
It’s an ideal summertime read — one so lively and vivid it’s enough to make you second guess your own warm-weather vacation. Pick this up, and you'll be tempted to spend the whole of July sipping rosé on the terrace of some neighborhood bistro on the outskirts of Aix.
But as Mayle will tell you, that’d be foolish — any Provençal native knows the region is at its best in September.
“My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now” by Peter Mayle
To buy: amazon.com, $22.50
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