Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Year in Provence, a great book for the expat or the vicarious one


Reading this book at the gym has become quite a scene since I seem to burst out laughing every other paragraph, miss my pedal on the bike and nearly fall off. Before I moved to Brazil I had this dream of writing some short story collection about all the crazy adventures we might cross until I started reading Peter Mayle's account of his own expatriate tales from France. First off, I am not even a writer and second of all not nearly as funny as I wish and not even close to Mayle's lyrical prose. His words are like a pencil drawing a character, incredibly visual and almost cartoon like. So while that idea takes a timeout break, I continue to enjoy reading about other people's fortuities.

I am not even finished with this book yet, but I thought I would spread the word in case you hadn't come across it and you were looking for a back pocket friend to help justify the glory and the pain of living in another country. Its also fun to discover the common threads of lazy workers, unbelievable little restaurants that change your life and the "jeitinho's"that make it all work out someway or another. "Jeitinho's" being those people errr.. little angles that make it happen regardless of the law. Miss Sarah in her cozy Le Petit Village writes very similar and reminds me of a modern day Mayle and I think if he were writing his story today blogstyle, he would have just as popular of a following as she does. Mayle and his wife may have moved to Provence in 1987, but his monthly chapters are timeless accounts that really marked the beginning of humorous travel writing as a genre (according to "The Guardian").

So I encourage you to check it out and partake in the fun, even if you still live in your home country. It might even inspire you either begin chronicling your own circumstance or better yet map out a new one!

Peter Mayle

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