The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself-and her readers-in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places. A Year in the Worldis vintage Frances Mayes-a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. An ideal travel companion, Frances Mayes brings to the page the curiosity of an intrepid explorer, remarkable insights into the wonder of the everyday, and a compelling narrative style that entertains as it informs. With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. In Andalucía, she relishes the intersection of cultures. She cooks in Portugal, gathers ideas in the gardens of England and Scotland, takes a literary pilgrimage to Burgundy, discovers an ideal place to live in Mantova, and explores the essential Moroccan city of Fez.
Even people who don't normally read travel books are aware of the old Italian villa that Mayes and her husband restored, chronicled in Mayes's bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun and three other books about Tuscany. So it's somewhat surprising when Mayes declares her wanderlust, her passion for other beautiful places in the world. She adores Tuscany, but also loves tasting other people's cuisines, learning their gardening habits, reading their poetry, swimming their waters. She's always looking around and wondering, "How do place and character intertwine Could I feel at home here What is home to those around me Who are they in their homes, those mysterious others " In this luminous volume, she and her husband visit southern Spain, Portugal, Sicily, southern Italy, Morocco, Greece, Crete, Scotland, Turkey and places in between. Usually they rent an apartment or villa, so they can cook, sprawl and feel like "locals." They survive a couple of package trips (a cruise around the Greek islands, a small charter around Turkey) which only highlight the pleasures of independent travel-having the freedom to wander and discover things for themselves, without a schedule. And happily, there's no mention of prices to mar readers' escapist fantasies. (Mar. 14) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 14, 2006
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Excerpt from A Year in the World by Frances Mayes
Who cut down the moon's stem?
(Left us roots
How easy to pluck flowers from
This infinite acacia.
--Federico Garc-a Lorca
January, old Janus face looking left at the past year and right toward the new. I'm for the new--no mournful backward glance. Make tracks, I write one night on the steamed kitchen window.
The year began with a break-in at my house while my husband and I were finishing dinner. Ed had just tipped the last of a vino nobile into our glasses. Laughing, we were talking about the turn of the year, with Nina Simone crooning "The Twelfth of Never" to us. We'd cleared the plates, the candles were burning down, and outside the dining room window we saw only our potted lemon trees, swaying snapdragons, and yellow Carolina jasmine, for January in California is a blessed season.
In a flash, everything changed. A man crashed through the living room window, screaming that he wanted to die, then loomed on the middle of the rug, his bundled body in ski jacket, droopy pants, and homeboy hat pulled down around his moony face. Even as I write this, my heart starts to pound.