Synopses & Reviews
From Peter Mayle, a wonderful new novel steeped in wine and the business of wine and set in, bien sûr
Max Skinner is not exactly setting the London financial world on fire and when his supervisor steals his biggest client, it's definitely time to inspect the vineyard in Provence that his recently departed uncle left him. Heartily and happily distracted upon his arrival by the landscape, the weather, and the food not to mention the gorgeous notaire handling the estate and the stunning owner of the local bistro Max almost forgets about his inherited property.
Which might have been a good idea, because the wine produced there is swill. But then why, Max has to wonder, is his caretaker so anxious to acquire the land? When a beautiful young woman from California arrives with what might be a legitimate claim on the estate, and knowledge of vineyards that far outstrips Max's own, the plot begins its twists and turns into and out of truly wonderful complications and resolutions.
This is luscious reading soothing us with the sensual wonders of Provence while it tells a fascinating tale of the hugely lucrative and competitive boutique-wine trade. It is Peter Mayle's most satisfying, most delectable novel yet.
"Mayle's breezy, uncomplicated fifth novel (Chasing Cezanne, etc.) and ninth book follows 30-something Max Skinner from a sabotaged financial career in London to his adoption of the Provençal lifestyle on an inherited vineyard in France. Max spent holidays at his Uncle Henry's vineyard as a child, so when he inherits the place, the prospect of returning is tempting; a generous 'bridging loan' from ex-brother-in-law Charlie seals the deal. The estate, Le Griffon, is in a dire state of disrepair and the wine cellar is filled with bottles of a dreadful-tasting swill, but it's nothing that vineyard caretaker Claude Roussel and prim housekeeper Madame Passepartout can't resolve. Max settles into his new life easily thanks to the attentions of local notary Nathalie Auzet and busty cafe owner Fanny. The arrival of young Californian 'wine brat' Christie Roberts, Uncle Henry's long-lost daughter, complicates matters for Max, but her surprise offer and Charlie's arrival lessen the impact of a vicious vineyard scandal involving a delicious, high-priced, discreetly produced wine called Le Coin Perdu. Mayle's simple story provides lighthearted if unadventurous reading and a fond endorsement of the pleasures of viniculture." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]nother of [Mayles's] wise, witty, and sophisticated novels....The entertaining threads in this absolutely embracing novel are woven into a vibrant design." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"A delightful divertissement....[P]lenty of...local color, comic dalliances and a feastful of entertainment." The Seattle Times
"Happily snide (and knowledgeable)....Wicked turns of phrase....Quite agreeable, with an insouciant nose...perfect for summer reading." Chicago Sun-Times
"Mayle makes Provence sound like the most enticing place this side of paradise. Reservations, anyone?" People
"Bubbly, light-hearted, good-natured....[Mayles] descriptions of food and country ambience...live up to his reputation." The Baltimore Sun
"Fast-moving and fun....[A] deliciously light-hearted tale....The Provencal life never tasted so good." Rocky Mountain News
"[T]he formula is presented practically bare-bones, with only cursory attempts at embellishment....As entertaining as Peter Mayle can be, he might aim a bit higher if not for his own entertainment, then for ours." Washington Post
From the bestselling author of Chasing Cezanne comes a satisfying and delectable novel that portrays the sensual wonders of Provence while it tells a fascinating tale of the hugely lucrative and competitive boutique-wine trade.
Mayle's most satisfying and delectable novel yet portrays the sensual wonders of Provence while it tells a fascinating tale of the hugely lucrative and competitive boutique-wine trade.
The writer with a claim to being the worlds foremost literary escape artist is back, with an intoxicating novel about the business and pleasure of wine, set in his beloved Provence.
Max Skinner has recently lost his job at a London financial firm and just as recently learned that he has inherited his late uncles vineyard in Provence. On arrival he finds the climate delicious, the food even better, and two of the locals ravishing. Unfortunately, the wine produced on his new property is swill. Why then are so many people interested in it? Enter a beguiling Californian who knows more about wine than Max does–and may have a better claim to the estate. Fizzy with intrigue, bursting with local color and savor, A Good Year is Mayle at his most entertaining.
About the Author
Peter Mayle eats, drinks, writes, and lives in Provence. This is his ninth book, and his fifth novel.
A Conversation with Peter Mayle
Q: How did you decide to write A GOOD YEAR?
A: I read a newspaper article about “garage wines” and the staggering prices they have been fetching. The combination of wine and money seemed like an interesting basis for a little light crime.
Q: There is much about wine and the wine industry in your new novel. How did you learn about this business? What kind of research went into writing the novel?
A: I visited Bordeaux and spent time with a friend who owns one of the great chateaux, and I learned a lot from other friends in Provence who make wine. Many bottles of research were consumed in the course of my education.
Q: Are movie plans in the works for A GOOD YEAR?
A: I am always hesitant to say anything too specific where Hollywood in concerned, but I think there’s a good chance that a film will be made. It’s certainly a very photogenic story.
Q: How did you originally move to Provence?
A: For many years, while working in New York and London, I dreamed of living in Provence. I finally did, and the experience has proved to be one of those rare occasions in life when reality has exceeded expectation.
Q: What is your daily ritual in Provence?
A: Up early. Walk the dogs in the hills behind the house. Write from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00, six days a week. Lunch (a meal that occasionally stretches well into the afternoon). A siesta. Work in the garden. Re-read what I wrote in the morning, discarding much of it. Evenings are often spent with friends in one of the local restaurants.
From the Hardcover edition.