Instructions for Visitors
Life and Love in a French Town New edition
By (author) Helen Stevenson
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Instructions for Visitors by Helen Stevenson
Book DescriptionThe beguiling, funny and frank story of a young Englishwoma; If you are lucky enough to find your place, you should never actually live in it, never make it your home. And never live with the man you think you cannot live without. Le Village is a small town at the southwestern-most tip of France. Here a young Englishwoman fell in love with France, the French and one Frenchman in particular. In her seductive, lyrical and witty memoir Helen Stevenson writes about life in Le Village, not as an expat, but as someone adopted by her neighbours as one of their own. By Stefan, the Maoist tennis fanatic, who lives off his lover in solidarity with the unemployed; by Gigi, the chic Parisian who dresses her ex-lovers' girlfriends from the stock of her exquisite boutique; and by Luc, the crumpled cowboy painter and part-time dentist, who, overcoming an aversion to blondes, takes the Englishwoman up to his remote mas, shows her his paintings and teaches her to ride. Describing the colour and light of the landscape with lyrical intensity, and savouring the languid and sexy flavour of the Mediterranean lifestyle, Helen Stevenson lays bare a romantic but potentially disastrous love affair with the man 'who seems like the only man alive to me, the one with the halo round his head in a crowd, if I should ever see him in a crowd'. Instructions For Visitors may start as an objective guide for tenants arriving at her village house, but it ends as a very personal revelation of how difficult it can be to transplant oneself into someone else's country, someone else's culture, someone else's heart.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780552999281
(201mm x 133mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Helen Stevenson
Love Like Salt, Paperback (February 2017)
A beautifully written memoir, in the vein of H is for Hawk and The Last Act of Love, about mothers and daughters, and living the best life you can, even in the shadow of illness.
Lights of Pointe-Noire, Hardback (March 2016)
"Originally published in France as Lumiaeres de Pointe-Noire in 2013 by Editions de Seuil, Paris"--Title page verso.
Tomorrow I'll be Twenty, Paperback (May 2013)
Michel is ten years old, living in Pointe Noire, Congo, in the 1970s. His mother sells peanuts at the market, his father works at the Victory Palace Hotel, and brings home books left behind by the white guests. Planes cross the sky overhead, and Michel and his friend Lounes dream about the countries where they'll land.
Memoirs of a Porcupine, Paperback (July 2012)» View all books by Helen Stevenson
When Kibandi, a boy living in a Congolese village, reaches the age of eleven, his father takes him out into the night, and forces him to drink a vile liquid from a jar which has been hidden for years in the earth. This is his initiation and, from this point on, he, and his double, a porcupine, become murderers.
UK Kirkus Review » 'If you find your place you should never actually live in it, never make it your home. In the same way never live with the man you think you cannot live without....' So a friend warns the nameless heroine of this novel - as it turns out, far too late. Escaping from an unsuccessful marriage via a small southwestern French village on the Spanish border, the young Englishwoman has already encountered - and fallen for - her place and the man. Living with them both, she is caught up in their timelessness, their parochialism and their strange seductive difference from all that she has known before. Part travelogue, part love-story and part anthropological treatise, Instructions for Visitors beguiles the reader with its changes of pace and tone. At one moment a lyrical evocation of dead heat and cicadas and blazing skies, it will turn in an instant to high comedy with the story of the Le Pen-ist mayor and the Johnny Hallyday concert, before sliding away to a neat series of portraits of the peculiar characters that make up the petit bourgeoisie of the village. There is the 'fake insincerity' of Gigi, the boutique-owner, who clothes the girlfriends of past lovers; the dancer Marie-Lou, who lives with a man half her height and twice her age and only sees her daughter once a week in her ballet class; Stefan, the highly competitive Maoist, who shows solidarity with the unemployed by not working himself, and who has 'an inflated sense of how much people want him - women and the police in particular'. Above all, there is her relationship with Luc - part artist, part dentist, part horseman, and wholly attractive. As indefinable as the village, as alluring and as entrenched, he is a man who is both troubling and difficult to live with, yet equally troubling and difficult to leave. (Kirkus UK)
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