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Under the Tuscan Sun

by Frances Mayes

Buy the book: Frances Mayes. Under the Tuscan Sun

Release Date: 01 September, 1997

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Frances Mayes. Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy

In a carefully written story, poet Mayes (Ex Voto, Lost Roads, 1995), who chairs the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, recounts the purchase and renovation of an abandoned Tuscan villa. She begins with the 1990 search with her companion, Ed, for a summer home to take the place of the rented farmhouses of past years. They finally decide on Bramasole ("Yearning for the Sun"), a villa with 17 rooms and a garden that has been standing empty for 30 years. There is the ordeal of getting money transferred via the tangled Italian banking system, as well as bringing together the owner, builders, and government officials to get the necessary work done. The daunting process requires several years. Meanwhile, Mayes finds Italian country life a healthy antidote to hectic San Francisco, enjoying, for example, the fruits of her own garden, friends in the village, and the first olive harvest. This is an unusual memoir of one woman's challenge to herself and its successful transformation into a satisfying opportunity to improve the quality of her life.'


Overrated & Overfed in Tuscany....

I'll be honest here-I'm probably exactly the wrong reader for Frances Mayes writing. She seems absolutely obsessed with food, & when she isn't eating she is examining her navel. I'm sure overeducated intellectuals with exaggerated views of themselves will enjoy her writing. I did not.

I found her never-ending eating recollections to be boring (I kept wondering who did the cleaning up & how they found time to do anything else) & since I have little use for poetry & she is a published poet....well, you get the picture! I also felt it presumptuous that someone who only spent 3 months a year in Tuscany had the audacity to write about "life" there. No Frances, spending your vacations in Tuscany is not "Life", it is an escape from it! When your entire existence is dependant upon the olive yield, & you've lived at Bramasole thru a few calendars THEN you can call it "Life".

But, not all is lost in reading this book. Tuscany sounds beautiful, the medieval walled towns around Bramasole sound exquisite, & if Ms. Mayes would confine herself to writing of those subjects this book would be enchanting. Less Frances, more Italy next time please!


Nizhniy Novgorod

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