I have come to realize that in many ways, books are like food. Nourishment for the soul. Some books can be devoured like cheap (but good) pizza or my personal favorite, cake. Other books are meant to be savored, each part for its own sake, like a fine meal. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes, is one of those to be savored.
I originally heard of this from the movie trailers I saw two years ago. I thought it was some sappy American-finds-love-and-herself-in-Italy love story. Sort of a white verson of How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And I didn’t think about it again, until I came across the book in the travel essay section of the book store. I had no idea it wasn’t a fiction book. It is a love story, though, but about a woman’s love with a house, a place, a dream. She already has a companion/lover/partner, Ed, who is compliant in all her dreams, though I think the house is technically hers. It’s a truly beautiful book to read, and I’m not one to usually read books for the sure pleasure of the language. Her descriptions of the land, the area of Cortone in Tuscanny, the house itself and all the rennovations, are fabulous and picturesque. I will never see the movie, because nothing can be as wonderful as Mayes’s descriptions of the place, except for probably the place itself.
All that being said, while this book is something to be savored, it’s not necessarily something I would want to read again and again. But, like the experience of a fine meal, it’s the memory of the book and it’s pictures that will linger on. It’ll probably make me wax poetic and be lyrical for a while. At least, until the next time I have cheap pizza.