by Sukey HowardJune, 1998
Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes's thoroughly charming, often wise, celebration cum memoir of renovating an abandoned villa in southern Tuscany is, to me, a perfect example of the pleasures of audio. I don't read much nonfiction, but I found this audio version as irresistible as the Tuscan countryside and lifestyle Ms. Mayes so fondly describes. As she reads in her gentle Georgia accent, you'll be transported to this ancient terraced land with its olive trees and Etruscan treasures, its fabulous wines and even more fabulous food, its warm, friendly people and unavoidable shysters (construction seems to share the same problems everywhere in our galaxy). Mayes's language is as lovely as the landscape she writes about: You can feel the warmth of the sun, smell the fresh herbs, taste the pasta with porcinis, and wonder at the transformation of this neglected old house into a beautiful, beloved home.
Reviewed by Sukey Howard.