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A Year In The World [Paperback]

Frances Mayes
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 April 2007

The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany returns to immerse herself - and her readers - in the sights, aromas and treasures of twelve new special places.

A YEAR IN THE WORLD is vintage Frances Mayes - a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely places, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. An ideal travel companion, Frances Mayes brings to the page the curiosity of an intrepid explorer, remarkable insights into the wonder of the everyday, and a compelling narrative style that entertains as it informs.

With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain and Portugal, France, the British Isles, and the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the south of Italy, and North Africa. In Andalucía, she relishes the intersection of cultures. She cooks in Portugal, gathers ideas in the gardens of England and Scotland, takes a literary pilgrimage to Burgundy and explores the Moroccan city of Fez.

Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and the social and culinary traditions of each area, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to the reader. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savoured by all who loved UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, A YEAR IN THE WORLD is travel writing at its absolute best.

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; New Ed edition (2 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553814435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553814439
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Evocative and insightful, it's bound to make you dust off your suitcase" (WOMAN & HOME)

"A YEAR IN THE WORLD is that rare breed: a travelogue that really makes you feel that you, too, have visited these places with the writer. Prepare to indulge your senses, discover new worlds and culture - and start packing" (BOOKS QUARTERLY)

Book Description

Her first all-new work of travel-writing since BELLA TUSCANY

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book to savour 12 Dec 2006
In my opinion, the previous reviews are a little harsh. I loved Mrs Mayes' books "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany" and couldn't wait to read about her travels further afield. I wasn't disappointed.

Mayes and her husband Ed pack their bags for a series of holidays, including Portugal, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Turkey, Greece and various Italian destinations. What we are reading is her personal travel diary. She often makes references to writers who lived and worked where she visits, and I think that sometimes she chooses her destinations on this basis. This is something I see has been criticized in some Amazon reviews, but Mrs Mayes is a writer and a professor of creative writing, it makes sense she would want to make a sort-of pilgrimage to certain areas that were home to authors she admires. Case in point: Granada, home of the poet Federico Lorca and the Burgundy region of France where the auther Colette was born. Mrs Mayes visits where these writers once lived, and muses on how their writing was shaped by their environment.

If you are familiar with Mayes' books you will know that the "concept of home" is central to her work. Could she call "home," the places that she visits? Some she could. She attempts to sift through the layers of each destination, studying the people, the food, the architecture, the history, trying to reach the essence of "home." I think she successfully does this in Portugal, where she decides that if she had not been to Italy first, her books may have been about the purchase of a Portuguese ruin instead. But of course Italy remains her true love, and there is a whole chapter, written as a letter to a close friend, that is devoted entirely to Italian cuisine. As in "Tuscan Sun," food remains a central theme.
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Frances Maye has such a beautiful writing style and informs without being boring. Fascinating book of places she has visited with an insight into people and places ... Oh and of course food.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Year in the World 31 Mar 2011
By Jane
I'm a fan of most of Mayes' writing and I wasn't disappointed by this book - except for one thing. As mentioned by another reviewer, several place names (I noticed the British ones especially) are misspelt. Great writer, shame on the publishers for not getting this edited properly. However, this apart, the book as ever is beautifully written (style-wise) and gives you a real taste of the places visited.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Year In The SELF-VOID 30 May 2006
In a few words--this book is totally self-indulgent, and has really little to do with any of the involved countries, especially England.

This is disgusting to the point when so many places are misspelled--names of English castles, Portuguese places and wines, etc. North becomes South, & the other way around, and I'm not talking about actual geography or history. I even wonder how the copy-editors of the publishing house have let this happen? Do they have any? Are they all called Ignoramus?

There are numerous good books about travel. Just forget about this shameful one.
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20 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Odious 23 April 2006
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
There are some things so irredeemably foul they shall not be uttered in polite company. The c word, or lurid accounts complete with graphic sound affects of the last time you had salmonella poisoning, or a lewd account of the rape scene in "Irreversible" told with salacious glee. That sort of thing. There is now an addition to that list .....Well as far as I'm concerned. It's "A Year In The World" by Frances Mayes, quite possibly the most offensively hideous thing it has ever been the acute displeasure of my eyes to gaze upon. With its excruciating upper middle class prose, flippant ignorant opinions, and colossal air of self absorbed importance it is far and away the most odious book I have ever read. There were passages in "American Psycho" that made me feel ill but they are as nothing compared to some of the drek that populates the pages of "A Year In The World". That last bout of salmonella suddenly loomed larger in the mind as Mayes astonishingly patronising prose seeped like radioactive mush into my brain.
It's all my own fault. I made the mistake of mentioning to some one I knew that I enjoyed reading travel books. Bless her, she thought she was doing me a favour by lending me this and I'm far too polite to say no thanks. Of course I could have just not read it, and blagged my way through it when she asked what I thought of it, and god I wish I had taken that option but no, I started reading the accursed thing. After the first chapter I was so angry at Mayes persona and opinions and those of her equally repellent husband that if she had been in the vicinity I would have been loading a nail gun and stocking up on drain cleaner ready to pay her a personal visit. Of course Mayes wouldn't have had anything to do with me, as I,m a real person and she doesn't do real people.
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