Synopses & Reviews
NATIONAL BESTSELLERTaking up where his beloved A Year in Provence leaves off, Peter Mayle offers us another funny, beautifully (and deliciously) evocative book about life in Provence. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—the gendarme fallen from grace, the summer visitors ever trying the patience of even the most genial Provençaux, the straightforward dog "Boy"—Toujours Provence is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have a very good time trying.
Peter Mayle offers us another funny and beautiful book about life in Provence. Here is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have the best of times trying.
About the Author
Peter Mayle spent fifteen years in the advertising business, first as a copywriter and then as a reluctant executive, before escaping Madison Avenue in 1975 to write educational books for children. In 1990, Mr. Mayle published A Year in Provence, which became an international bestseller. He is also the author of Encore Provence, Hotel Pastis, A Dog's Life, Anything Considered and Chasing Cezanne. In addition to writing books which have been translated into more than twenty languages, Mayle has contributed to the Sunday Times, Financial Times, Independent, GQ and Esquire. He and his wife and two dogs live in the South of France.
Reading Group Guide
1. In "Boy," "Passing 50 Without Breaking the Speed Limit," and "Fashion and Sporting Notes from the Ménerbes Dog Show," Mayle offers affectionate portraits of his wife. Would you have liked to learn more about her? Do you think that as a woman she has a different perspective on life in Provence?
2. Why does Mayle create an air of mystery and suspense when he describes his two excursions to see Monsieur X, the truffle seller? Does the extreme secretiveness surrounding the buying and selling convey something more than the extraordinary value placed on truffles?
3. Why does Mayle find "the wise, venal, and congenitally crafted Massot" [p. 90] so appealing? How do Massot's peculiarities and his approach to life add an unexpected dimension to Mayle's portrait of Provence?
4. In "As Advertised in Vogue," Mayle mocks the Beautiful People who are discovering Provence. Are his criticisms legitimate? Can the "invasion" of outsiders bring benefits to Provence and to other rural areas without destroying the peace and beauty that make them so attractive?
5. Régis, the track suit-wearing gourmet, has definite theories about why France provides the best food and best eating experiences in the world [p. 166-7]. How do American eating habits and expectations compare to those of the French and the English? From your own experience, is it possible to find great, inexpensive restaurants in the United States? Do diners and small town restaurants fill the same role in this country as relais routiers do in France?
6. One of their visitors accuses the Mayles of "going native" [p. 231]. How do the vignettes in Toujours Provence differ from the stories in A Year in Provence? Do they reflect fundamental changes in Mayle and his way of thinking about life?
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of Peter Mayle's delightful books about life in Provence, where he and his wife bought a two-hundred-year-old stone farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Lubéron Mountains.