Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Literary Travel in Provence

I heard about Peter Mayle and his famous year in Provence one year ago, while preparing a text about travel writing. This book was considered the most read reference for this domain, but in my recent wanderings from a bookstore to another I discovered he wrote several other books about the life in this famous French province. 

I've read the first book in a couple of hours and considered it a relaxed lecture for using the time while on train or in the airports: pleasant and easy style, a special style of telling stories. The book is covering each of the 12 months of the year, with details about weather, social life, personal discoveries. A good chronicle of a small village in the countryside, in the style of the old chronicles.

After discovering one of the follow-ups of the book - Toujours Provence - I am tempted to like it more. It includes exclusively short stories, in a more lively tone and with more details of the atmosphere and air of the places. A very good equilibre between the brievity of the journalistic pieces and the literary make-up. 

Although coming from the English literary tradition, Mayle's books remind me a lot of the French history of the very short but witty essays from the 18-19th century. Affordable for the masses, but containing seeds of knowledge, opening the appetite for finding out more and giving an intellectual wrap to our average daily lives. 
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