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French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France [Kindle Edition]

Richard Goodman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.58
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Book Description

A story about dirt--and about sun, water, work, elation, and defeat. And about the sublime pleasure of having a little piece of French land all to oneself to till.

Richard Goodman saw the ad in the paper: "SOUTHERN FRANCE: Stone house in Village near Nimes/Avignon/Uzes. 4 BR, 2 baths, fireplace, books, desk, bikes. Perfect for writing, painting, exploring & experiencing la France profonde. $450 mo. plus utilities." And, with his girlfriend, he left New York City to spend a year in Southern France.

The village was small--no shops, no gas station, no post office, only a café and a school. St. Sebastien de Caisson was home to farmers and vintners. Every evening Goodman watched the villagers congregate and longed to be a part of their camaraderie. But they weren't interested in him: he was just another American, come to visit and soon to leave. So Goodman laced up his work boots and ventured out into the vineyards to work among them. He met them first as a hired worker, and then as a farmer of his own small plot of land.

French Dirt is a love story between a man and his garden. It's about plowing, planting, watering, and tending. It's about cabbage, tomatoes, parsley, and eggplant. Most of all, it's about the growing friendship between an American outsider and a close-knit community of French farmers.

"There's a genuine sweetness about the way the cucumbers and tomatoes bridge the divide of nationality."--The New York Times Book Review

"One of the most charming, perceptive and subtle books ever written about the French by an American."--San Francisco Chronicle

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2848 KB
  • Print Length: 222 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1565123522
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (13 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00744Z5TG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #338,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A friend recommended this book to me about a New Yorker who took on a garden in southern France some years ago and I have to say that to begin with I thought, 'Same old, same old..'

I was to be delightfully surpised though. Not only is the book itself a treat---with a beautiful jacket and luxuriously high quality paper---but the story of Mr Goodman's trials and tribulations both in the French dirt itself and in the dirty business of local politics/foreign relations, interspersed with memories of his childhood in Virginia was so engaging, it left me longing for more.

This would make a wonderful film and should easily have been successful as Peter Mayle's Toujours Provence. A perfect Christmas gift for any gardener, traveller or Francophile. Highly recommended.
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I was attracted by the beautiful cover of this book that, as well as its French theme, made me want to open it up and read more. Inside, I discovered a lovely memoir of the special time the author and his girlfriend had when they swapped New York for a small village in Provence. He describes the characters, their daily routines he witnesses from his house on the village square and his clever plan to become accepted in the community, even though they were only going to be there for a year. Being in France, in a village where generation after generation had worked the land, Richard felt he needed some land of his own in order to grow his own food. He persuades a local farmer to help him and begins to toil his soil, learning from those around him. As with anything where Mother Nature is involved there are ups and downs, but his hard work, determination and enthusiasm are what I will carry with me from this book.

I love France, I love gardening and this book was a perfect winter read, reigniting my enthusiasm and making me long for the better weather of spring when I can get back out in my vegetable garden.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all time 6 Sept. 2013
This sounds exaggerated but I can honestly say that with a near lifetime's reading behind me, this is my favourite book. I'm reading it for a third time and finding yet more to enjoy. It is a love story at two levels - with a place and, though he plays it down, a woman.

Goodman is s modest, affectionate personality who wonderfully conveys the pleasures and pains of living in another culture and making relationships there. Almost fitting in but not quite. Loneliness and awkward moments as well as delights.
But his passion for the earth and growing things , the weather and landscape , is so richly and imaginatively evoked. He is a teacher of Creative Writing living in New York and I believe his other books are New York based - probably just a s rewarding in their own way but not so near to my heart.

A modest masterpiece. In many ways he reminds me of a happier, more generous Edward Thomas as he emerged in my own work*A Conscious Englishman - also one who found meaning in gardening and in encounters with working rural life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Story of an adventure of the soil! 22 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
lovely story about an American's year spent in rural France. He finds friends and learns about the people around him by "working hard". He then creates a garden on a piece of land he asks to use. What he plants is far beyond produce its life and love. loved the book :)
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