Friday, July 1, 2016
I remember the first time I read Toujours Provence, my introduction to Peter Mayle. It was the summer after I'd graduated from college and was slowly emptying my apartment in Pittsburgh. I spent a lot of time packing boxes and driving across the state, and even more looking for a job. That still left a lot of time to spend time with my college friends, and to read. Nearly 25 years later, Toujours Provence is as enjoyable as I remember it. While Mayle felt the need to create a loose narrative framework for A Year in Provence, here he provides literary postcards of his life on the edge of the Luberon. Singing toads, a truffle hunter training a pot-bellied pig, buried treasure, Mayle's then new-found fame - they're all fettered in their own essays, along with a dozen other topics. And food. Everything comes back to consumables, whether it's a birthday picnic, two lunches with the local gourmand, or a visit to the local wholesale market. Sunny and breezily told (I assume like a spring day in Provence), Mayle's second travel collection surpass his first, in part because there's no thread to tie the essays together.