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.
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.
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.
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 :)