French Spirits

French Spirits

A House, A Village, and A Love Affair in Burgundy

Book - 2002
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When Jeffrey Greene, a prizewinning American poet, and Mary, his wife-to-be, a molecular biologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, discover a moss-covered stone presbytery in a lovely village in the Puisaye region of Burgundy, they know they have to live there. With an unabashed joie de vivre, they begin the arduous process of procuring their slice of paradise amid the wild beauty of the French countryside -- a place of gentle farmlands and dense forests, of rivers and lakes, of stunning fields bursting with the color and heady scent of wildflowers.

French Spirits is the magical tale of their odyssey to become not just homeowners but Burgundians. In lush, lyrical prose, Greene recalls their experiences turning the three-hundred-year-old stone building -- a "ch#65533;teau in miniature," which the locals believe houses numerous spirits--into a habitable refuge. He brings to life their adventures in finding wonderful bargains with which to furnish their new space, including a firm mattress and some rather suspicious "antiques" bought from the back of a van.

Greene offers the unexpected joys and surprises of village life, from celebrating his and Mary's simple backyard wedding to discovering summer f#65533;tes from toiling in a verdant garden to trading insights with new neighbors. He shares the experience of surviving his mother's decision to move in and humorously introduces the locals -- both human and nonhuman -- who define his and Mary's new world. Woven throughout this luscious tale are the pleasures of rural France: wondrous food and wine, long-held rituals and feasts, dark superstitions and deeply rooted history. A memorable feast for the senses, French Spirits will entertain and enlighten all who succumb to its charms.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2002
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780060188207
Branch Call Number: 944.41083/GRE 4565 1


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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 22, 2014

It is not an original story; a couple move to France and spend years restoring an old house. However, this time it is lyrically told by a prize-winning American poet. He offers a loving portrait of the people and countryside of Burgundy and throws in touches of history that make the place come alive.

Apr 19, 2014

Detailed and rather slow moving bio of renovating a run-down presbytery in a small French village. But, humourous incidents with quirky, local characters makes you want to finish.

ser_library Jul 25, 2013

needs editing but still worth reading

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