Going to Gascony this summer? You might be interested in this new book by Martin Calder.
Martin Calder’s A Summer in Gascony evokes the spirit, sights, smells and sounds of this still relatively unknown and unspoiled ‘other South of France’. It is a perfect read for summer. Calder, a senior lecturer in French at the University of Bristol, has a PhD in eighteenth-century French literature. He is a true Francophile who has come to know the people of Gascony and understands their way of life.It is a tale of two love affairs: an idyllic summer romance with blond-haired Anja and and a lifelong love affair with Gascony, with its village festivals, dusty roads and sun-baked wine country, which endures to this day.
In the tiny hamlet of Péguilhan, Martin Calder is introduced to the Gascon way of life: working in the fields, shepherding and slaughtering sheep, feeding the cattle, harvesting the wheat, watering the crops. He discovers a unique people, fiercely proud of their independent heritage.
As an Englishman, he finds himself more welcome than he expected. Old affinities exist between England and Gascony: they fought for years against a common foe – the French! – and Gascony exported huge quantities of wine to slake the thirst of mediaeval Englishmen.
Told with charm and gentle humour, A Summer in Gascony is full of colourful characters: the charismatic and convivial Jacques-Henri, the hardworking farmer whose family take Martin into their home; Anja, the German student who steals Martin’s heart: the yoga-practising Germans; Pattes, the mischievous stray dog; Madame ‘Parle-Beaucoup’, the town gossip and Monsieur Fustignac, whose pride in his Gascon heritage is unforgettable.
But the real star of the book is Gascony itself, with its strong spirit of independence and the simple pleasures it provides.
“This engaging recollection of an unforgettable summer… replete with regional culinary delights, smells, sights and sounds of Gascony, is a sensory feast. Highly recommended.”
Michelle Dixon, French Magazine Book Club
“A charming and nostalgic account, written in an accessible and down-to-earth style, this book offers an insider’s perspective of Gascony. I felt entirely satisfied with this read and keen to sample Gascony’s rural pleasures for myself.”
Becci Sargent, French Magazine Book Club
“A Summer in Gascony accurately describes what it is like to live in this wonderful part of France. Characters like Jacques-Henri and Madame Parle-Beaucoup can be encountered in many of the small villages and hamlets scattered across Gascony – proud, warm-hearted people who welcome visitors into their hearts and homes. Martin’s experiences and vivid descriptions allow his readers to travel, eat and drink their way through a summer in Gascony from the comfort of an armchair.”
Nick and Karen Kitchener, Domaine do Lauroux Winery
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If you can’t wait to see if you win, you can purchase the book by clicking on the link below: