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At Home in France [Kindle Edition]

Ann Barry
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

"As beguiling and delectable as France itself."

*Mimi Sheraton



"Ann Barry tells her tale directly and clearly, without cloying artifice or guile, so that it has the warmth, honesty, and force of a long letter from an old friend. She makes her reader a welcome house guest in her much-loved little cottage in the heart of France."

*Susan Allen Toth



Ann Barry was a single woman, working and living in New York, when she fell in love with a charming house in Carennac in southwestern France. Even though she knew it was the stuff of fantasy, even though she knew she would rarely be able to spend more than four weeks a year there, she was hooked. This spirited, captivating memoir traces Ms. Barry's adventures as she follows her dream of living in the French countryside: Her fascinating (and often humorous) excursions to Brittany and Provence, charmed nights spent at majestic chateaux and back-road inns, and quiet moments in cool Gothic churches become our own.



And as the years go by, and "l' Americaine," as she is known, returns again and again to her real home, she becomes a recognizable fixture in the neighborhood. Ann Barry is a foreigner enchanted with an unpredictable world that seems constantly fresh and exciting. In this vivid memoir, she shares the colorful world that is her France.



"AN INTELLIGENT MEMOIR."

*The New Yorker



"DELIGHTFUL . . . BARRY WRITES ENGAGINGLY. . . . [She] is very much at home in such fine company as M.F.K. Fisher's Two Towns in Provence, Robert Daley's Portraits of France, and Richard Goodman's French Dirt.

*St. Louis Post-Dispatch


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1625 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345407873
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (15 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EPYW9C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #763,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At home with Ann Barry 15 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. Unlike so many books in this genre (The Tuscan Sun comes immediately to mind), it neither romanticizes nor patronizes the locals, it is blessedly free of "authentic" recipes and the minutiae of "improvements", and the author is plain likable, despite--or because of?--her periodic failings as a "proprietaire." If she's far more interested in the genealogy of the cottage's previous owners than the genus and species of the winter intruder that left a trail of "caca," (see Kirkus review), I, for one, do not fault her. Knowing that she died before her lovely memoir was published leant a poignancy to my reading--how sad to think that her beloved cottage opens to her no more. (Does anyone know circumstances of her death?)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At home with Ann Barry 15 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. Unlike so many books in this genre (The Tuscan Sun comes immediately to mind), it neither romanticizes nor patronizes the locals, it is blessedly free of "authentic" recipes and the minutiae of "improvements", and the author is plain likable, despite--or because of?--her periodic failings as a "proprietaire." If she's far more interested in the genealogy of the cottage's previous owners than the genus and species of the winter intruder that left a trail of "caca," (see Kirkus review), I, for one, do not fault her. Knowing that she died before her lovely memoir was published leant a poignancy to my reading--how sad to think that her beloved cottage opens to her no more. (Does anyone know circumstances of her death?)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a fascinating account of one (single) woman's experience in living abroad. She lives in Eastern US, and buys a residence in the south of France where she spends part of each Fall and Spring. Her account of her experiences, meeting of nieghbors, and general adventures provide an interesting read. I was saddened to learn the author died in 1996; in fact, before the book was published. Anyone know what happened to her? Please write Peter_and_Carole@msn.com. Thanks, and you'll enjoy this book!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
That's it! I'm running away to France where I'll buy a charming country cottage...Oh,wait. Ann Barry already did that, and wrote this wonderful book. We should all be as fortunate and as adventurous as Ms. Barry. This captivating little book is charming, funny and completely enjoyable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Memoir by An American At Home in France 15 April 2001
By Frederick Hecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
---------------------------------------------------------------
"At Home in France" rings true. Ann Barry's touch is unerring. Light. But the tales of her days in France are mysteriously moving. A fine, fine memoir.
At the end of "At Home in France" a note "About the author" says all too briefly: "A former editor at The New Yorker and The New York Times, Ann Barry wrote extensively on travel and food. She died in 1996."
Like other readers, we wondered what were the circumstances of Ann Barry's death? After searching for several hours, we found the sad answer in the archives of The New York Times in an obituary (Feb 19, 1996) titled "Ann Barry, Editor and Writer, 53."
Ann Barry "who pursued a freelance writing career while working as an editor at The New York Times and at The New Yorker" had died of cancer two days earlier at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "She lived in Brooklyn."
Near the end of the obituary, the unnamed writer states that: "Although she wrote on a variety of subjects. Miss Barry, who left The New Yorker in 1994, particularly enjoyed writing about the Dordogne region of southwestern France, where, not coincidentally, she owned a vacation home." It continues: "Although she could only spend two or three weeks there a year, Miss Barry kept such meticulous track of her intense short-term experiences that she turned them into a book, "At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad." It is being published by Ballantine next month."
The obituary says nothing about a funeral or memorial service for Ann Barry. We have to think that, although she was from St. Louis, lived in Brooklyn and died in Manhattan, her heart lies in France and she is enjoying (as she wrote): "the most beautiful moment Carennac had ever seen. And then we made our way home though the magical night." She is at home in France.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, Warmly Human, Ultimately Bittersweet and Moving 21 Dec. 2003
By Bohemian Bon Vivant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very moved by this memoir and would recommend it to anyone (it feels far more immediate and emotionally rewarding, for instance, than Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun").
Unlike some that explore the same territory here (culture shock, setting up housekeeping in a foreign land, quirks of the locals, history of the region and its landmarks, discovery of cuisine and surroundings), there is subtle artistry in the way it's written, gentle looks into the basic human goodness of the French people in her circle, and knowing that the author died of cancer in middle-age before ever seeing this book published brings a bittersweet feel that grows as the last page nears (mentioning in passing in the final chapter, for instance, that she will skip a planned trip to a spa that year due to an event taking place in the village and that the spa will always be there next year has a strong resonance, as you immediately realize and want to call out protectively to her, Yes it will be there, but you will not]).
Aside from the introduction to French life and characters, I found myself more transfixed by what I saw in Ann Barry herself -- a loner who never feels so right in the world as when she is on her own, and especially when in France as her truest self, even relishing that she has no telephone and can't be infringed upon by the outside world.
Knowing that Ms. Barry will die after 12+ years of sharing her journey, I found myself not just reading the story but considering questions of self and meaning in life, and feeling a bit sad for a woman who never connected with a significant other and that the scars of childhood in a somewhat dysfunctional family were far-reaching, as is the case with so many of us. (That sounds depressing, but it's more a consistent subtext here that one attuned will see, and that, to me, enriched my interest in the work. Many people may read the book not coming away with that at all.)
If you enjoy vicarious life and episodic memoir of someone who DID IT rather than THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I can think of no finer memoir that I've read of late, and I'm sure I will continue to think about the questions this raised in me about how we live our lives and what it all means and what good we can do for this world before we leave it, and for that I'm grateful to Ms. Barry for this work.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet 19 Aug. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ann Barry's book is a great read! I spent this summer day sitting in a chaise lounge reading "At Home in France" from cover to cover. Her conversational style is very appealing, and as a former french language student of many years, I embraced the opportunity to brush up, dictionary at my side.
I loved everything about the book from Ann's domestic crises to descriptions of the marketplace to the relationships with her neighbors and other townspeople to the details of mouthwatering menus.
I want to bravely enjoy my life, even if alone, as Ann did. Not letting her aloneness stop her. I want to be at home in France.
I didn't learn of her death until after reading the book--a bittersweetness revelation. I would love to have read more.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ann Barry obituary - from the New York Times 12 Dec. 2004
By James V. Larson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ann Barry, Editor And Writer, 53

(NYT) 245 words

Published: February 19, 1996

Ann Barry, who pursued a freelance writing career while working as an editor at The New York Times and at The New Yorker, died of cancer on Saturday at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was 53 and lived in Brooklyn.

Miss Barry, who was born in St. Louis and graduated from St. Louis University, started as an editorial assistant at the The New Yorker in 1967 before moving down the street to The Times in 1975.

While designing and editing the Sunday Arts and Leisure Guide, editing art and dance reviews and designing the daily cultural pages, she began contributing articles to The Times, a career she continued and expanded after she returned to The New Yorker in 1990 as managing editor of the Goings On About Town section.

Although she wrote on a variety of subjects, Miss Barry, who left The New Yorker in 1994, particularly enjoyed writing about the Dordogne region of southwestern France, where, not coincidentally, she owned a vacation home.

Although she could spend only two or three weeks there a year, Miss Barry kept such meticulous track of her intense short-term experiences that she turned them into a book, "At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad." It is being published by Ballantine next month.

She is survived by a brother, Gene, of Palm Harbor, Fla.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charm without pretension-how refreshing 10 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I actually read this book a number of years ago. I am a francophile, and do read many books of this ilk, but this was by far my favorite. I learned the author had died after I had read the book, and I did feel a personal loss with this woman I had never met. While the Peter Mayles and France Mayes of the world are wonderful fluff, sometimes you want the real meal and not just the pastries. This book is the real thing, no guile, no patronizing bemusement, but a charming candid experience of a perceptive woman in a culture she finds appealing, perplexing, frustrating, and alluring. She doesn't pretend that she is simply painting a water color on neutral canvas, but honestly and unselfservingly describes her own biases and perceptions. A wonderful recounting of a foreigner dipping into a new and different culture.
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