Updated: Oct 20
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
A brilliantly written down-to-earth book about, well, a year in Provence.
Peter Mayle brings us through vivid neighbourhood farmer’s markets to lush rolling planes under the Provencal sun, as well as crackling fires and cold Estaillades tables in the front yard blanketed with aberrating snow. In addition to creating a whole new genre of books, Mayle possesses a distinctively honest voice that resonates with readers and will sit at the back of their minds forever.
For the people living uneventful lives and who fancy themselves bored, the beauty of A Year in Provence is not that it transports, but that it renders grateful. Mayle finds himself dealing with difficult workers who are never consistent, and with a large table which – though sleek – is too heavy to move to its designated spot. These little struggles give off, through the power of words well used, a feel of the picturesque. And if one can derive so much pleasure from reading about these challenges, can they not enjoy them firsthand? The answer is yes, they can. And this book, sold over 60 million times, translated to 40 different languages, this book enables them to.
Why? Because it shines the spotlight on the little things. Because it glorifies those small victories an individual might not even have noticed before. Because, in connecting to each and every reader (all credit goes to Mayle’s readable style), it reaches deep into their hearts and diffuses gratitude.
By Chloe Zhu