Provence A–Z

Peter Mayle, Author . Knopf $25 (286p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4442-9

The author of several books set in Provence, including the now classic travel tome A Year in Provence and a more recent novel, A Good Year , Mayle has once again trapped the sunshine, the wind and the very lavender-laden air of the southeastern French countryside in his prose. The reference-desk title is appropriate if the desk in reference is that of a librarian at your favorite getaway inn in Aix or Marseille. This anecdotal encyclopedia may have been written expressly for discovery on the shelf of a rented mas , "a collection of agricultural buildings joined together," and enjoyed over an afternoon repast of Banon, "armed with a fresh baguette and a bottle of local wine." Mayle is the self-appointed pied piper of Provence for Anglophone Francophiles everywhere, and these entries, from "Accent" to "Zingue-Zingue-Zoun," display the same conversational style his fans have come to expect. He includes information about lesser-known sights like the museum of the Foreign Legion and local food like bouillabaisse, but the charm of the book is in unexpected factual gems like "the male goat can copulate up to forty times a day" found in an otherwise straightforward entry about chèvre. Mayle writes beautifully of the seasons—Automne, Été, Hiver and Printemps—which he shares as his own personal Provence with the earnestly planning tourist and the dreamy armchair traveler alike. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/18/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Hardcover - 473 pages - 978-0-7862-9403-9
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-1-4000-9569-8
Compact Disc - 3 pages - 978-0-7393-4025-7
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-4929-8
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-307-48985-2
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-3253-7
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