Monday, December 23, 2013

A Good Year by Peter Mayle

A Good Year by Peter Mayle
Published June 2005 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Source: my audiobook purchased at my local library book sale
Narrated by Ben Chaplin

Publisher's Summary:
Max Skinner has recently lost his job at a London financial firm and just as recently learned that he has inherited his late uncle’s vineyard in Provence. On arrival he finds the climate delicious, the food even better, and two of the locals ravishing. Unfortunately, the wine produced on his new property is swill. Why then are so many people interested in it? Enter a beguiling Californian who knows more about wine than Max does–and may have a better claim to the estate.

Peter Mayle
My Thoughts:
I happened to catch the movie adaptation of this last year and was charmed enough by it that I watched it again this year when it happened to be on t.v. Still, despite having the same title as the movie, I didn't put this book and the movie together when I found the book. I just assumed it was another memoir and having enjoyed Mayle's A Year In Provence I imagined I'd enjoy it.

I wasn't far into the first disc before I realized what I was listening to. And this made me very happy. What made me even happier was actor Ben Chaplin's narrating - a British accent always goes a long way with me but he also did a fine job differentiating the voices and with the multiple female voices which is often tough for male narrators. Sadly, this appears to be the only book he's narrated.

Narrator Ben Chaplin
The book focuses much more on the wine produced on the vineyard and the intrigue surrounding it than the movie did which had its focus more an the sexual tension between Max and one of the local lovelies and his relationship with the Californian who showed up on the doorstep of the French property. Perhaps if I'd read the book first, I would have taken exception to the changes made in the movie, but in reverse order they seemed just fine. They probably made for a better movie but they would not necessarily have made for a good book whereas the book was more interesting with a bit of a crime caper as its focus. I recommend both the book and the movie for light fun.

Interestingly, I turned on CBS Sunday Morning this week to discover that they had a story about wine scams amongst wine collectors which tied right in with this book. I had thought of it as simply a plot device but clearly Mayle based his story on fact. You just never know when you'll learn something new in your reading!

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