Claire McAlpine's Reviews > Map of Another Town

Map of Another Town by M.F.K. Fisher
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bookshelves: france, memoir, classic, nonfiction

A must read certainly, if you know Aix-en-Provence, an outsiders insights into the old city, but one who has fallen for its charm, though cursed by her inability to meld into it, due to her foreignness.
Humorous in some parts, cringworthy in others, overall a delight and superbly descriptive.

My favourite essay though doesn't even take place in Aix, but in the train station of Lucerne, where she self consciously has to wait and keep herself occupied for six hours, after being sold a ticket for a non-existent train.

And the cake shop, asking a pastry chef to create a cake, as drawn by her young daughter, a cross cultural hilarity, not to mention the proprietors consant refusal to hear her other request, a calandar of culinary events, for which there is only ever one reply, an(other) invitation to visit the calisson factory? Priceless!
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Reading Progress

May 14, 2019 – Shelved
May 14, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 14, 2019 – Shelved as: france
May 14, 2019 – Shelved as: memoir
June 7, 2019 – Started Reading
June 7, 2019 – Shelved as: classic
June 7, 2019 – Shelved as: nonfiction
June 7, 2019 –
page 50
22.32% "While I usually steer clear of memoirs set in France, M.F.K.Fisher is a writer I've long intended to read. She finds just the right words to describe the near indescribable, and though many of the characters she writes about have long gone, the edifices remain and it is easy to imagine how this place I live in was back when she inhabited it. This 'other town' she refers to, is Aix-en-Provence, her refuge for 3 years"
June 15, 2019 –
page 80
35.71%
February 3, 2020 –
page 210
93.75% "Stalled at pg 77 after The Gypsy Way and The Foreigner, I picked this up again today and found the next essays as delightful as the debut and way more humorous. Fisher is more entertaining when observing herself than she is when observing others.
Unwritten Books and The Familiar were favourites, her stream of consciousness narrative of 6 hours spent in the Lucerne train station is a lesson to all aspiring writers."
February 3, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Shankar (new) - added it

Shankar Thanks Claire. I will look for this book. I hope to be in Aix en Provence later this year and looks like this will be a good pre read.


Claire McAlpine Shankar wrote: "Thanks Claire. I will look for this book. I hope to be in Aix en Provence later this year and looks like this will be a good pre read."

It's something of a classic now, and some essays are better than others, but for anyone who has felt a little of the magic and cultural confusion that this town inspires, it's a pleasure to read how that has been captured so eloquently by MFK Fisher. She, like many, masters the language, yet never succeeds in becoming a purely neutral inside observer, constantly reminded that she is an interloper.


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