Various Eric Newby A Small Place in Italy

ISBN 13: 9780002158664

A Small Place in Italy

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9780002158664: A Small Place in Italy

Since first setting eyes on Italy at the age of 22 through the periscope of a submarine, Eric Newby has come to feel it is the country he knows and understands best. In 1967, he and his wife bought "Il Castagni", otherwise "The Chestnuts", a small and ruinous farmhouse in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the borders of Liguria and northern Tuscany. They were the first foreigners to live in this particular area, and the only ones. The house came complete with, among other indigenous wildlife, a large colony of cockroaches, a band of predatory mice the size of small cats and, unknown to them when they bought the house, a sitting tenant, Attilio, an extremely eccentric and ancient man who had once built an aeroplane and crashed it. In this book, Eric Newby describes how he and his wife pulled the house back from collapse and tells of their friendship with the neighbouring "contadini", country people, which endured for 25 years, and a way of life now changed almost beyond recognition.

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About the Author:

Eric Newby was born in London in 1919. In 1938, he joined the four-masted Finnish barque Moshulu as an apprentice and sailed in the last Grain Race from Australia to Europe, by way of Cape Horn. During World War II, he served in the Black Watch and the Special Boat Section. In 1942, he was captured and remained a prisoner-of-war until 1945. He subsequently married the girl who helped him to escape, and for the next fifty years, his wife Wanda was at his side on many adventures. After the war, he worked in the fashion business and book publishing but always travelled on a grand scale, sometimes as the Travel Editor for the Observer. He was made CBE in 1994 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Guild of Travel Writers in 2001. Eric Newby died in 2006.

From AudioFile:

As usual, Andrew Sachs gives a stellar performance in narrating this account of renovating a dilapidated farmhouse on the border of Tuscany. He rolls out nonstop Italian phrases and descriptions of local festivals as if he'd been raised under an olive tree. But, alas, even the liveliest narration cannot transform 25 years in "I Castagni" with Eric Newby into one year in Provence with Peter Mayle. Although Newby is a highly respected travel writer, he lacks Mayle's flair for capturing colorful characters and lively dialogue. With such uninspired writing, few listeners may be tempted--even in imagination--to follow the rough road to "a small place in Italy." J.C. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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