A refreshing antidote to the saccharine charms of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence and Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, this is the quirky and hilarious memoir of a criminal lawyer who gives up his New York practise to spend a year in the Etruscan town of Sutri, near Rome, where he moves - reluctantly - with his artist wife and baby.
Himself something of an eccentric from a bizarre Nebraskan family, he has spent his adult life living in hotels; and in Sutri, he heads straight for the cafe in the main square.
From there he observes the baroque events of small-town life, conjures up a cast of Italian eccentrics (including Pasquale and his hypersensitive organ of smell), and relishes the weirdness and the wonder of Sutri's history, folklore, architecture and above all its food - particularly the notorious 'fagioli regina' (beans in a tomato and pig skin sauce) and the annual Bean Festival.
Part of the delight of reading this memoir is that it not only evokes the sights and smells of an ancient and little-known town in Southern Italy, and brings its people to extraordinary life, but it also reveals the irresistible foibles and philosophy of a talented and unusual mind. Funny, philosophical and surprisingly moving, this is the story of how a rootless American finds home in the most unexpected places and how Pasquale and his compatriots put life into perspective in the strangest way.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 228 pages, map
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 06/06/2002
- Category: Travel writing
- ISBN: 9780099422730