Wednesday October 08, 2003

Under the Tuscan Sun

Rich and I recently finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It's quite a good read if you enjoy this sort of book; you'll find it shelved under travel memoirs.

We're both fans of Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence) and similar sorts of books. This is very much in the same vein. I could almost feel the sunshine and taste the food. I was quite happy, however, to be reading about all the heavy work, rather than helping to haul stones!

There's a movie adaptation of the book which we have not (yet) seen. When I was halfway through the book I wondered "How could anyone make a movie out of this?" It's a set of loosely connected descriptive passages. It doesn't exactly have a "plot" other than "Frances and Ed buy a fixer-upper in Italy and renovate it over the next few summers. "

Then I went to the Internet Movie Database and read the synopsis of the movie. Ah... they invented a fictional plot. For starters, they elided Ed!

If you've seen the movie but not read the book, it may interest you to know that Frances is divorced from her previous husband but she is not alone, lonely, or having major life turmoil at this point in her life. She has a new husband, Ed, and has had him for several years now. The decision to buy a summer home in Italy follows on a series of summer vacation rentals in the same area; buying is a major decision but not, perhaps, quite the major unexpected thing the movie makes it out to be. And the pregnant lesbian friend of the movie is entirely a work of fiction :)

Nevertheless, I'm told by a friend that the movie retains much of the scenery and landscape of the book, so we'll probably see the movie simply to enjoy seeing what we could only read about. And, the house is still in the movie. Much of the book is about the house — a centuries old Italian farmhouse that needs a fair amount of work to make it liveable (all within the constraints of the Italian historical preservation laws; e.g. no exterior windows may be added).

In all, we enjoyed the book and recommend it. Rich has already read (and I plan to read) the "sequel", Bella Tuscany.

Under the Tuscan Sun - posted by Vicki at Wed, 08 Oct, 11:07 Pacific | Comments (0)