MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Under The Tuscan Sun

At Home In Italy

by Frances Mayes

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes X
Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 1996, 280 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 1997, 255 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

An enchanting and lyrical look at the life, the traditions, and the cuisine of Tuscany, in the spirit of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence.

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.

In 1990, our first summer here, I bought an oversized blank book with Florentine paper on the cover and blue leather binding. On the first page I wrote ITALY. The book looked as though it should have immortal poetry in it but I began with lists of wildflowers, lists of projects, new words, sketches of tile in Pompeii. I described rooms, trees, bird calls. I added planting advice, "Plant sunflowers when the moon crosses Libra," although I had no clue myself as to when that might be. I wrote about the people we met and the food we cooked. The book became a chronicle of our first four years here. Today it is stuffed with menus, postcards of paintings, a drawing of a floor plan of an abbey, Italian poems, and diagrams of the garden. Because it is thick, I still have room in it for a few more summers. Now the blue book has become Under the Tuscan Sun, a natural outgrowth of my first pleasures here. Restoring then improving the house, transforming an overgrown jungle into its proper function...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
FOR DISCUSSION
  1. "What are you growing here?" is the first line of Under the Tuscan Sun. In what ways does that question symbolize how the book came about? What does it say about Frances Mayes's life in Italy, and about her life in general?

  2. Mayes writes of the traumatic experience of selling one house and purchasing another on various occasions in the United States. Why is the purchase of her house in Italy so qualitatively different from her other experiences with home ownership?

  3. "The house is a metaphor for the self," Frances Mayes writes. Discuss some examples of this, both in her life and in your own

  4. What makes Mayes's writing style effective? How does her particular voice make her descriptions come alive? What images did ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

USA Today
This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy. loving a house and, always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself.

The New York Times Book Review
An intense celebration of what [Mayes] calls 'the voluptuousness of Italian life'.

Los Angeles Times
Mayes [has] perfect vision.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Irresistible...a sensuous book for a sensuous countryside.

USA Today
This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy. loving a house and, always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself.

Booklist
Armchair travel at its most enticing.

Reader Reviews

Ewesfulewe

Very pleasant read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. No, it does not have a plot, and it does not have exciting, sweep you off of your feet type moments. If that is what you are seeking, keep looking. What is does have is an American's view of another country and some...   Read More

Carwin


As I read, I was transported to the warm balcony, overlooking the ancient, lusch, Tuscan country side. It did what a great book is supposed to do. Transport you.

Barbara from Poland

It's truth , this book smeel like a wine and tomato , my favorite ...
And I say "NA ZDROWIE" :-)
basia_sm@interia.pl

Molly

I LOVED this book. I love it because I love the way she changes through her life as she changes and improves the house. I'm fifteen and it is very hard for me to find a book that will fill my mature and intellectual needs and Under The Tuscan Sun ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Frances Mayes

If you liked Under The Tuscan Sun, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: In the Dream House
    In the Dream House
    by Carmen Maria Machado
    In the introduction to In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado (a National Book Award finalist for ...
  • Book Jacket: Father of Lions
    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan
    Our readers have given high marks to Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan. Out of 21 reviewers, 18 ...
  • Book Jacket
    Girl, Woman, Other
    by Bernardine Evaristo
    As we meet Amma, a 50-something playwright finally experiencing mainstream success in Bernardine ...
  • Book Jacket: The Revisioners
    The Revisioners
    by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
    The chapters of Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's second novel, The Revisioners, alternate between three ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Remembrance
    by Rita Woods

    A breakout debut with modern resonance, perfect for fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    You Were There Too
    by Colleen Oakley

    Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Adventurer's Son

Publishing Soon!
The Adventurer's Son

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
--Jon Krakauer

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.