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普罗旺斯的英国人——彼得·梅尔

来源:发布时间:2008-03-14 13:46:10

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  彼得·梅尔,英籍知名作家,若干年前曾是纽约麦迪逊大道一家广告公司的高级主管,有天厌倦了写字楼的繁忙与浮华,递上辞呈,逃离纽约麦迪逊大道,与妻子及两只狗跑到法国南部卢贝隆山区居住,那里四处是阳光和美食……
  
  他购置了一座古宅,勤学法文,向过去的一切说再见,悠闲自得的生活,并开始了他的写作生涯。他尝试把乡间生活写成第一本《山居岁月》,没想到叫好又叫座,让全世界掀起了一股“普罗旺斯热”!他的每本与普罗旺斯有关的书在《纽约时报》的畅销书排行榜上都久居不下。他的著作有《山居岁月》(A Year in Provence)、《永远的普罗旺斯》(Toujours Provence)、《有关品位》(Expensive Habits)《一条狗的生活意见》(A Dog's Life)等。
  
  
  "[Peter Mayle] is something of a wonder . . . chronicling the scene around him in irresistible prose, the joys of a chronicling climate, brilliant sun, and a splendid cuisine." –Time
  
  Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939) is a British author most famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent 15 years in the advertising business, first as a copywriter and then as a reluctant executive, before escaping Madison Avenue in 1975 to write educational books for children.
  
  His fascination with France began at the age of seventeen when, as the 'lowliest trainee' in Shell, he was instructed to accompany his boss - a Mr. Jenkins - on a trip to Paris, and discovered that there was more to life than fish-and-chips. Jenkins, needless to say, was a caricature of the Englishman abroad ("personally, I never eat anything I can't pronounce").
  
  In his twenties he went to New York and became advertising copywriter for David Ogilvy. He later returned to England to a comfortable life in advertising, with a salary higher than the Prime Minister's.
  
  At age 35, after 'one committee meeting too many', he left his career as an advertising executive and moved with his wife and children to Devon in the south of England to write children's books.
  
  In 1974 one of his books - 'Where Did I Come From' - became a best-seller, but because of an unfavorable deal with the publisher, the book didn't make him wealthy.
  
  In his late 40's Peter Mayle moved with his third wife to Provence in the south of France, where they renovated an old farmhouse.
  
  Their experiences became the subject for 'A Year in Provence' which was an instant success and spent three years on the New York Times best-seller list. It was translated into twenty languages and turned into a BBC series.
  
  'A Year in Provence' was followed by 'Toujours Provence' and 'Encore Provence'.
  
  But his new-found fame came at a cost. Hordes of tourists and reporters descended on Provence looking for the writer and his house.
  
  Not realizing the book would become a best-seller, Peter Mayle had given an accurate description of the location of his house in the opening pages of 'A Year In Provence'.
  
  Plagued with unwanted visitors, and suddenly unpopular with the locals, Peter Mayle fled with his wife to Long Island.
  
  Four years later, when the hue and cry had died down, he returned to France and bought a large house near Avignon.
  
  Summer after summer, the Mayles had fled London in search of two or three weeks under the Mediterranean sun, promising themselves that one day they would make Provence their home. "We had talked about it," Mayle writes in A Year in Provence, "during the long gray winters and damp green summers, looked with an addict's longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards. . . . And now, somewhat to our surprise, we had done it." Each season in their adopted homeland, they soon discover, brings its share of surprises, and every undertaking becomes a small adventure as they adjust to the rhythms of rural life, to the charming idiosyncrasies of the local population, and to a language that at times bears only a passing resemblance to the lessons on their French language tapes. The sense of urgency that ruled their northern, urban lives gives way to an acceptance of the gentler pace of the south. The renovations on their house take months longer than promised, but the workmen's good humor, enthusiasm, and consummate skill more than compensate for the inconvenience of wintering without kitchen walls, central heating, and dependable electricity. Routine errands to the village become opportunities to wile away hours observing hotly contested games of boules, reading the ever-intriguing gestures that punctuate every street corner conversation, or listening to resident experts hold forth on the weather, history, the behavior of tourists, and local scandals while sipping a pastis at the café. Meals--whether eaten at home, at a neighbor's, or in one of the dozens of small, family-run restaurants throughout the region--are long, leisurely occasions, dedicated to celebrating Provence's agricultural bounty, the wines of its productive vineyards, glistening olive oils that range in color from jade green to transparent gold, and, during a short, much-anticipated season, Provence's gastronomic gem, the truffle.
  
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