Notes from the Cévennes - Half a Lifetime in Provincial France
A charming memoir exploring the history, landscape and people of rural France, told through the eyes of a Parisian-born Englishman, writer and poet.
Adam Thorpe's home for the past 25 years has been an old house in the Cévennes, a wild range of mountains in southern France. Prior to this, in an ancient millhouse in the oxbow of a Cévenol river, he wrote the novel that would become the Booker Prize-nominatedUlverton, now a Vintage Classic.
In more recent writing Thorpe has explored the Cévennes, drawing on the legends, history and above all the people of this part of France for his inspiration. In his charming journal, Notes from the Cévennes, Thorpe takes up these themes, writing about his surroundings, the village and his house at the heart of it, as well as the contrasts of city life in nearby Nîmes. In particular he is interested in how the past leaves impressions--marks--on our landscape and on us. What do we find in the grass, earth and stone beneath our feet and in the objects around us? How do they tie us to our forebears? What traces have been left behind and what marks do we leave now?
Part celebration of both rustic and urban France, part memoir, Thorpe's humorous and precise prose shows a wonderful stylist at work, recalling classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson'sTravels with a Donkey in the Cévennes.