Letters from My Windmill
Throughout his working life in Paris Daudet never lost his almost umbilical attachment to Provence. These tales of that region are ...more
There are places I like to revisit. There are books I like to revisit also, rich with the memory of past places. I first read the wholly delightful Letters from my Windmill by Alphonse Daudet when I was on holiday with my parents in Provence, in Avignon, to be exact. It was from there, the city of the popes, that we explored the surrounding countryside; from there we discovered the charm and magic of this special part of La France profonde – deep France.
I’ve also managed to recapture the time a ...more
It is interesting to see Daudet refer to characters from novels by his contemporaries. One essay addresses Pierre Gringoire, the poet from Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris ...more
I loved the title, and the premise intrigued me.
The book began with an extract from a bill of sale:
"To Mr Alphonse Daudet, poet, living in Paris, here present and accepting it:
A windmill and flourmill, located in the Rhône valley, in the heart of Provence,
If you have ever passed the night in the open under the stars, you will know that while we are sleeping a mysterious world awaken ...more
So I read it in French, with the transla ...more
Once among France's leading literary lights, Daudet is largely forgotten today. This collection of stories and sketches, almost all set in Provence or neighbouring territories, contains nothing very earth-shattering, but it is an easy read, big on charm and local colour, and the illustrations by Edward Ardizzone in this edition make a nice bonus. The distinctive culture of Languedoc (as opposed to France) was still just alive at the time Daudet was writing, as we can glimpse from time in stories ...more
"Come January, thousands o ...more
It is more than just interesting; it is pure and kind-hearted, which is more than could be said of many a book, even most popular bestsellers.
I prefer the funny stories, like Les Trois Messes basses or L’Élixir du révérend père Gaucher, but the sad ones are good as well.
And don`t try to tell me the book is obsolete. Books like that might be moss-grown, but they cannot be outdated. This kind of timeless moss is wholesome, you see ...more
Daudet is an excellent prose-poet. His descriptions of settings form the best parts of the book, and some of the chapters like "oranges" or "at Camargue" are devoted almost completely to this. He's luxurious, piling adjective upon adjective, detail on detail. Unfortunately, when he ventures towards narrative, he ...more
The collection also contains L'Arlesienne that inspired the orchestral suite by Bizet and t ...more
While less culturally and socially relevant today, the book paints a nice picture of the French countryside. His characters and descriptions give the reader ...more
So, dear English-speaking francophiles... do learn enough French to enjoy this in the original. You will smell the lavender, rosemary, taste the cheese the goats make-- except for Blanquette, listen to the old windmills at the foots of the Alpilles singing the old proverbs.
Re-read for the occasion of returning to Provence: ...more
This made me - rather intentionally by the author, no doubt - yearn for the fields of Provence, the trees and the mountains, the long rows of lavender and the thick midsummer heat.
Its strong sense of place almost transports you there physically - a trait that is common to some of my favourite "life abroad" books, notably Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy.
In addition, the stories themselves are beautiful in their simplicity, and seem like they would hold up well to a reread.
Overall, loved it & would...more
Each piece paints a little picture of life. Many are quite cheery although it does get dark in places. Its really quite good and the writing can be quite beautiful. Towards the end however things become a bit political and historical and its not quite as much fun.
The travelogue is OK; I'll be rereading the chapter on the cowboys of the Camargue as the Tour passes through the south. The short stories are absolutely fantastic, in a way almost alien to US moral scope. Best Halloween story ever (yes, I know it's really set at Christmas).
Most of the stories had a depressing, even harrowing aspect to them. The writing, however flows very easy and paints quite a picture in your mind. I settled on 3 stars.
Aphonse Daudet was born in Nîmes, France. His family, on both sides, belonged to the bourgeoisie. The father, Vincent Daudet, was a silk manufacturer — a man dogged through life ...more