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on 13 July 2005
"Notes from the Languedoc" by Rupert Wright, now in its second edition, combines the history and culture of this increasingly popular part of France and its peoples with descriptions of the landscape, together with the escapades of the Wright family as they settle into life in the area, the whole enlivened by Rupert's ever present sense of humour. His interest in the local wine and food forms a backdrop to almost every chapter. I defy anyone not to return to it again and again to drink in the sights, flavours, and colours of this fascinating area.
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on 13 July 2005
I picked up Notes from the Languedoc because it is about the region I live in. I expected the usual drivel about plumbers and strange French eating habits. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. This is a really lovely book; it is well written, interesting and has an addictively gentle atmosphere. The author clearly knows his subject and is able to share his knowledge in an accessible and entertaining way. I think this could become a classic. I would recommend it to anyone who likes good books, not just those with an interest in France. Is Rupert Wright the new Bruce Chatwin? I look forward to his next book enormously.
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on 16 September 2008
This book isn't entirely awful - the jacket's quite pretty, and the section on Montpellier's recent history is interesting. But for the most part it is smug, self-centred and tedious.

It is presented as a series of letters to a relative of the author, most of which include an invitation to come and visit. The revelation, at the end of the book, that said relative never made it is mawkish, rather than moving, and frankly not that much of a surprise. Even as letters home, what is written here would not have been all that compelling.

In terms of insight into life in the modern Midi, there's very little. Such as there is concerns only the life of one privileged British expat. And given that most of the book is based on days out on bicycles or short trips on boats - little more than any tourist in the region might undertake - it is hard to see how any great understanding of the Languedoc or its natives can be expected. There may be a good book out there about the Languedoc, but this isn't it.
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on 22 June 2012
We sent for this book as we are currently buying a house in the Languedoc region and wanted to get as much information about the area as possible. This book didn't disappoint. We had borrowed it from the library initially but then felt we needed to have our own copy....to keep in France. It gives an excellent insight into places to visit in the region and for those not familiar with the area.
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on 9 June 2013
I read this book before going to the Languedoc on holiday and would recommend it to anyone interested in visiting this area. It is full of insights into the rich history and culture of the region. His tales and descriptions are full of humour. It's the kind of book you constantly find yourself reading out loud to your companions - a book which I will read again with pleasure.
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on 30 September 2007
As someone who has fallen in love with the area and is hoping to make an extended visit there, this book really annoyed me!

I cannot agree with the comments about excellent writing. The author has no lightness of touch and his style is painfully dated (perhaps some would find it charming?). The only funny jokes were stolen from other people (e.g. Peter Sellers).

Was I the only one shocked by his blase description of shooting his own dog?!

Comparing him to Bruce Chatwin? You have got to be kidding!

How he manages to turn such a unique and fascinating place (and much under-described compared with neighboring Provence) into a series of dull and characterless descriptions is amazing.

Going on for page after page about his blasted dinghy...is anybody interested? Far too much about his tedious lifestyle and not enough about the place and its people.

As an alternative, I would definately go for "Signs of the Heart" by Christopher Hope. Not that its perfect but the author is actually interested in the local people rather than this books bland middle-class fascination for wining and dining.
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on 7 December 2005
Rupert Wright has a deft touch with language which resonates well with the reading pallette. His work is like a preacher's sermon to a saved congregation. As the sole American in a Languedoc village and one of those leagues of writers drafting their own novel about the region, he is dead-on with his wit, enthusiasm and insight into the region. Inhaling this work is like the full course meal and good company you don't wish to leave. One can only hope for an encore performance. A must read for anyone who has ever been intrigued about the "genuine" Provence which will likely be a distant memory within the next two decades. Rupert Wright knows his subject matter and fills in the blanks for most of us living here from elsewhere.
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on 3 March 2010
An excellent read.The book is full of information and very anecdotal. It really brings the Languedoc to life. Easy to read and quite amusing - i would highly redommend it.
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on 2 December 2015
Rupert Wright - who is also the co-author of Wine and Landscape of the Languedoc - has produced a charming set of impressions of various aspects of life in one part of the Languedoc in southern France, in the form of letters to an elderly relative contemplating visiting or even moving to the region.
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on 13 September 2006
An interesting idea, using the letters written home to his mother, which grabs one initially and made me smile in the first chapter. However this soon wears thin and one finds oneself wishing for greater depth in the characters portrayed. The book soon losses itself and though it promises to provide a unique insight into the real Languedoc, it never shows its face.

Try harder next time
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