Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
On the library stacks: Adult Non-fiction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I remember watching this movie years ago and enjoying it. I traveled to Tuscany as a teenager and I felt the cinematography brilliantly captured the essence of the beautiful landscape. The book, however, is very different from the movie--in large part, because there really is no plot to the book.
In 1988, Frances Mayes was a divorced professor, living in the Bay Area. In 1989, she and her partner Ed, decided to purchase a 250-year old farmhouse named Bramasole in Cortona, Italy. The book is really a somewhat random collection of her thoughts as they go through the decision to buy the home, perform the much-needed restoration, transform the land, play tourists, and host dinner parties. Some chapters contain recipes, in some we follow her footsteps as she explores a nearby town, and in others she explains the the difficulties inherent in such a huge undertaking.
For me, the book moved really slowly. It's the sort of book you can put down and pick up at any time. Mayes does a nice job describing the land, the food, the weather and the house. But because the book is a compilation of sorts, some things got repeated and the word "Etruscan" was overused. I really wanted to connect more with Frances, Ed, and her daughter Ashley, but I felt like there was a wall put up between us and she wouldn't let me in. Perhaps travel/home remodeling memoirs are just not for me.
Also reviewed by: Silly Little Mischief ~ Bermudaonion's Weblog ~ Book Nut ~ Your link here?
1 hour ago