MAANA, MAANA: One Mallorcan Summer

Peter Kerr, Author . Lyons $22.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-58574-637-8

Kerr's memoir begins where Snowball Oranges: A Winter's Tale on a Spanish Isle left off. Spring is approaching; the neighboring rooster, General Franco, is crowing earlier and louder; and the author, a Scottish farmer who, with his family, has left his homeland to grow fruit in Mallorca, is up to greet the gorgeous island dawn. Thus begins this series of vignettes about the difficulties and satisfactions of trying to slow down and learn the ways of a charming but often mystifying Mediterranean isle. As Kerr and his family try to adjust their Scottish farming experience to the Mallorcan climate, they are on a steep learning curve, both cultural and agricultural. Offered advice and assistance from all kinds of charming, irritating and eccentric locals and expatriates, many of whom assume that the Kerrs, like most transplants to Mallorca, have money to burn, the family manages, eventually, to learn how to make a living with their fruit trees and enjoy local customs on their own terms. Whether they are confronted with demonic folklore in a local restaurant, navigating the politics of dealing with the police after a devastating burglary or standing up for themselves as they practice diplomacy with their sometimes difficult neighbors, the family remains lighthearted and resilient. More a series of episodes than a continuous narrative, the book lacks dramatic drive. But Kerr's writing is mildly humorous and evokes a spirit of place that will appeal to both armchair travelers and vacationers who'd like to know the best eating establishments on the island, as well as anyone considering emigrating to a foreign land. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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