If this reviewer had a choice (and all the time in the world),
he would wish to read this book indulgently at coffee table
on a balcony overseeing vast grasslands, with a glass of red
wine and some fresh fruits on a platter.
abovementioned description is almost unattainable in this
fast-moving society of ours.
what this reviewer did was to read this 245-page book during
trips on sardine-packed public transport, during lunchtime
and teatime breaks, and whatever available time he could squeeze
out from his daily routine.
if English author Peter Mayle hears of this, we are sure he
would not be too approving of it. After all, as the synopsis
of the book will tell you, this story is about the finer aspects
of enjoying life, and should be appreciated, well, preferably,
over a glass of fine wine.
very readable book tells the story of Max Skinner, who gets
retrenched from his banking job, but gets salvation in the
form of an 18th century house in France, complete with a vineyard,
from his dead uncle.
disheartened man flies to France, hoping to discover a new
life. There, he meets his uncle’s former employee, a
prim and proper housekeeper, an American girl who is his uncle’s
long-lost daughter, and an irresistibly attractive café
owner. With the help of his ex-brother-in-law, his life gets
pieced together again, not before some drama involving the
ownership of the house.
not read the book expecting twists and turns from the colourful
cast of characters, because these people have personalities
as straightforward as the how you would turn a page of a book.
There are no complications, nor any conniving plot schemes
to exercise your mind. What you read is what you get.
that this is a negative point though, because the author does
paint a beautiful picture of the countryside with his words.
The sceneries and wide pastures come alive in your mind vividly.
And the other pleasurable moments that come from reading this
2004 book would be the descriptions of food between the various
short chapters. Let’s just say you won’t want
to read this book on a hungry stomach.
“He stripped off his tie and jacket and slumped on the
couch, all energy and optimism gone. The apartment was a mess.
His life was a mess. As an alternative to housework or vodka,
he turned on the television. A cookery programme. A documentary
about salamanders. A man with blow-dried hair presenting the
news from CNN. Golf, the instant soporific. Max dozed off,
and dreamed of drowning in a vat of crème brulee.”
A perfect companion during stress-free weekends
if you have nothing on your mind, and all you want is a relaxed
and lighthearted read.
by John Li