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French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France Hardcover – 1 Sep 1991
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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.
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.
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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