Saturday, October 10, 2009
Journeys of a Passionate Traveller
Title: A Year in the World
By: Frances Mayes
Mayes' most well-known work Under the Tuscan Sun and its offshoots never appealed to me so I was surprised and delighted when I discovered her more recent memoir, A Year in the World. In her day job Mayes was a writing instructor, and here she shows her craft in top form. The title is somewhat of a misnomer – her several journeys around Europe were actually conducted over a five-year period – but they are arranged in calendar order, beginning with a January visit to Andalucia and concluding at year-end with a trip to Mantova, Italy. Always she is looking around and wondering, 'How do place and character intertwine? What is home to those around me? Who are they in their homes, those mysterious others?' In this luminous, beautifully written work Mayes' observations get to the essence of place, whether listening to soul-filled fado in Portugal, wandering the souks of Fez, or finding the perfect restaurant outside Naples. For all armchair travelers and those who love beautifully crafted, evocative writing.