A sweet, leisurely exploration of the life of Les Arques (population 159), a hilltop village in a remote corner of France, untouched by the modern era. It is a story of a dying village's struggle to survive, of a dead artist whose legacy begins its rebirth, and of chef Jacques Ratier and his wife, Noelle, whose bustling restaurant - the village's sole business - has helped ensure its future. The author set out to explore the inner workings of a French restaurant kitchen but ended up stumbling onto a wider, much richer world. Whether uncovering the darker secrets of making foie gras, hearing a chef confess his doubts about the Michelin star system, or absorbing the lore of the land around a farmhouse kitchen table after a boar hunt, Michael Sanders learned that life in Les Arques was anything but sleepy. Through the eyes of the author and his family, the reader enters this world, discovers its still vibrant traditions of food, cooking, and rural living, and comes to know the village's history, sharing along the way an American family's adventures as they find their way in a place that is sometimes lonely, often wondrous, and always fascinating.
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(198mm x 129mm x 22mm)
Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Ever since Peter Mayle moved to Provence to escape the rat race, there have been a steady stream of memoirs beating a similar path. Michael Sanders has added this delightful memoir to the genre but with the focus falling specifically on the life of a French village restaurant. His love of the village and the characters who inhabit it and eat in the restaurant is clear from his sympathetic prose and delightful descriptions. As he explores the history of the area and the life of chef Jacques Ratier the author finds himself increasingly absorbed by the rhtyhms of rural French life with its emphasis on community, shared meals and tradition. After reading this I imagine that many more people will be beating a path to the "good life" and following in Peter Mayles footsteps. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Michael Sanders
Michael S. Sanders, a former book editor and author of The Yard: Building a Destroyer at the Bath Iron Works, lives in midcoast Maine with his wife and daughter.