Extra Virgin: Amongst the Olive Groves of Liguria

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9780140294231: Extra Virgin: Amongst the Olive Groves of Liguria

A small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria, going for the price of a dodgy second-hand car. Annie Hawes and her sister, on the spot by chance, have no plans whatsoever to move to the Italian Riviera but find naturally that it's an offer they can't refuse. The laugh is on the Foreign Females who discover that here amongst the hardcore olive farming folk their incompetence is positively alarming. Not to worry: the thrifty villagers of Diano San Pietro are on the case, and soon plying the Pallid Sisters with advice, ridicule, tall tales and copious hillside refreshments ...

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Review:

There is a natural inclination among lovers of the travel journal genre to compare Annie Hawes's Extra Virgin to the idyllic and idiosyncratic tales by Frances Mayes or Peter Mayle. Don't. Her saga has the well-built flow of fiction and self-effacing honesty of a journal.

Annie and her sister, Sarah, were in their early 20s when they left London for a 10-week job, pruning roses in the mountainous town of Diano San Pietro in Liguria, Italy. While Sarah is the sensible shadow in the book, it is Annie who falls in love withthe place and then the people and coming up on 20 years lives there still.

Youthful mistakes are rectified by a village mystified at the Hawes sisters: mystified that they would want to live in such conditions, that they know so little about olives, wine, food and life and that they are not--horrors--married. Time and time again she is confronted with the reality that is the life of a peasant farmer and in retelling the episodes of her own ignorance, she gives heartfelt flesh and bones to the characters.

Still, Hawes deftly drizzles an observer's scepticism about her adventure. "We gloat about the house, the food, the view, everything, whilst pondering the strange fact that if we saw a representation of this sunset on a postcard we wouldn't buy it. We would think it was tasteless." That she centred the story on the early, impressionable days and the gradual intimacy that developed, gives the book an energy that makes it stand apart. Although the final pages jump haphazardly into the present, Hawes's perspective is instructional about the economic and social changes that in 15 years moved the village from the 19th to the 21st century. Like any story with the ring of truth, Extra Virgin is very much a tale that will age well. --Kathleen Buckley

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 206 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria, going for the price of a dodgy second-hand car. Annie Hawes and her sister, on the spot by chance, have no plans whatsoever to move to the Italian Riviera but find naturally that it s an offer they can t refuse. The laugh is on the Foreign Females who discover that here amongst the hardcore olive farming folk their incompetence is positively alarming. Not to worry: the thrifty villagers of Diano San Pietro are on the case, and soon plying the Pallid Sisters with advice, ridicule, tall tales and copious hillside refreshments . Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140294231

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