Sunday, June 29, 2008

Martin Calder – Nicholas Brealey - $37.99

Sub-titled “Discovering the Other South of France", Calder tells the story of a summer he spent during his university student days living and working with a farming family in their remote village in southwest France.
Gascony, he tells us in his prologue, has a distinct identity and a particular history, which sets it aside from the rest of France. It has old affinities and friendships with England and indeed in the Middle Ages sided with the British army against the French. The Gascons regard northern France as another country and are particularly suspicious of Parisians.

Calder, now a senior lecturer in French at Bristol University, developed a lifelong love affair with Gascony with its village festivals, dusty roads and sun baked wine country, which lasts to this day. His love for the place glows off the pages but I could have done with a little less of the history of Gascony and more of his own personal experiences. For example his summer romance with Anja, a German student also working on the property, is frustratingly short on detail.

If you are especially fond of this part of France or are planning to visit then this is the book for you. But in a genre that is cluttered with competitors this book did not really stand out for The Bookman.
If you would like to learn more the book has its own website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great post,
i am going to france next moth i really look forward to it!


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