Thursday, October 21, 2010

C'est La Folie by Michael Wright

Title: C'est La Folie

Author: Michael Wright


Who Should Read It? If you have any interest in life in France, with a little bit of humour and a lot of heart, this is the perfect book for you!

What I Have to Say:
Well, I would say that Michael Wright is back in all his glory, because for me he is. But given that this is actually his first book about his life at La Folie, and the first book I read was the second, technically he's not back.
With all of the same places and characters I grew to love in Je T'aime A La Folie, it certainly felt like I was thrown back into a world that I had already grown to love.

C'est La Folie is the endearing story of a man who, on what seems like a whim, decides to move to the middle of nowhere France. He's looking for adventure, and he's on a quest to become a hero, even though it seems to me he's already somewhat of a hero. I guess it just depends on your definition of hero.

Oddly enough, the bulk of this book actually seems to be about the renovations of his home and the raising of his animals, which in and of itself doesn't sound all that appealing. And yet - he has laced each and every fabulous tale that he has to tell (don't go thinking from that statement that this book reads like a book of short stories - it so doesn't; it is a strong, full-fledged novel) with just enough humour and self-mockery so as to make nearly passage laugh out loud funny. Or, at the very least, lamentably painful, as the reader can so easily relate to some of his horror stories. It was great for me to get to know some of the characters from the first book as Michael saw them when he originally met them. And, though I didn't think it possible, I found myself even more attached to his wonderful sheep and chickens!

Michael's writing is fluid, endearing, enjoyable, and, did I mention, FUNNY! After living in France for three years, I really thought there was nothing that could make me want to move back, but this wonderful travel story has me craving to live somewhere in "deepest, darkest France." I'm now convinced that it really must have just been Paris.

The only real problem that I had with this book was the somewhat vivid descriptions of animal husbandry and animal killing (okay, so the killing descriptions weren't really THAT vivid, but they were still too vivid for me). I really would have rathered NOT know that he killed chickens, etc. . . The book would have been wonderful and the perfect length if he had just left those parts out.

Anyhow, wonderful and wonderfully endearing travel memoir, and it comes heartily recommended here at Brizmus Blogs Books. If you have any interest in France, read this book, and I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Summary: In 2004, Michael Wright turned his back on Blighty to begin a new life as the owner of a dilapidated 15th century farmhouse called "La Folie". This is a comic memoir about a clinically social bloke rejecting the world of parties and attempting to learn how to become an old-fashioned man.

Cover Story: Once again, and adorably whimsically wonderful cover to fit an adorably whimsically wonderful book!

Thanks so much to Elizabeth at Transworld books for sending me a review copy of this book! This in no way affected my review!


Felicity Grace Terry said...

Being English I know many of us have such awful thoughts when it comes down to France and the French, perhas we should all read this. Thanks for the recommendation, it sounds like an enjoyable read.

Blodeuedd said...

France, humour, why not :9 Sounds like a fun book

Tales of Whimsy said...

I'm a meat eater and that would ick me out too :) Great review!

corporate housing said...

it will be most attracted to the younger side at ages eleven to thirteen since the protagonist is twelve to thirteen years old.

Simcha said...

This sounds a lot like A Year in Provence, which I recall that you didn't like (though I love) so I'm curious as to why you like this one so much more (if you want to respond you can just do so here and I'll check the box on the bottom to receive receive follow up comments).After reading your review of the first book I added to my list of books to get (when I come into some cash) so I'll have to add this one as well since they sound like just the kind of books I love.

brizmus said...

Simcha - I'm so bad at responding to comments in the comment section. I keep saying that I'm going to and then, well, not. Maybe this will be the start of something.

Anyhow, I think that I liked this so much more than A Year in Provence because it seemed so much more real. Wright's descriptions of life in France seemed valid and right on, whereas Mayle's seemed more contrived. I almost felt like Mayle seemed spoiled and was therefore able to live in this fantasy world that he created that had nothing to do with life itself. He spent FAR too much time in restaurants talking about food in which I have no interest and not enough time talking about things that actually matter to me. I also felt that A Year in Provence was lacking in humor. Wright seems very self-aware and able to make fun of himself, the people around him, and his circumstances, and I think that's why I liked this one so much more. Mayle just seemed kind-of, well, spoiled, to use that word again. And snobby.
So what I really think it comes down to is not the stories they are telling or even how they are telling them, but the kind of person Peter Mayle is versus the kind of person Michael Wright is. Because the fact is that they are both very much great writers.

Does that sort of make sense?

Simcha said...

Audrey, Don't worry abt responding to comments, it can get hard to stay on top of them. I hope I didn't pressure you into responding, I just wanted to let you know that if you do want to respond you might as well do so on your blog.
Anyways, I guess I just wasn't bothered by any of the issues that you had with Myle. I actually really enjoyed reading about his delight with French cuisine. I've never been much of a foodie but it was interesting reading about someone who gets so passionate about it. His description, in Book 2, about how his friend prepares Camembert, is my favorite literary food description of all time. I also did find a lot of humor in the book. Perhaps the fact that I've never been to France makes me less judgmental. But I definitely want to read Michael Wright's books, particularly if you think they are even better than Mayle's.

Jennay and Luke the Pup said...

This sounds like an interesting and good read. I'll keep an eye out for it. This seems like a book I would enjoy and I hope to read one day.

Great review!

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