I read Under the Tuscan Sun on the recommendation of a fellow librarian whose book suggestions I always consider very seriously. She recommended the book very highly and also the film adaptation, which I watched before I read the book. I was enchanted with the movie (very much a chick flick and I don't wholeheartedly enjoy those very often) and eager to read the book. The fellow librarian did warn me beforehand that extensive "creative license" was exercised in adapting the book :P
Wow. That's my first impression. I admitted to KT that this book stirs in me the compulsion to liquidate all of my unconsiderable assets, move to Italy, and find some crumbling estate to buy, fix up, and languish in until the end of my days. Ms. Mayes has me longing for olives, good wine, bruchetta, porcini, pears, gorgonzola, fresh pasta, pungent herbs, cleansing sunshine, and, I admit, Italian men. She enjoys shopping more than I ever could, but on everything else we agree!
My coworker Mrs. D said she tried to start the book but was put off my the author's "whiney tone." I didn't get that impression but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you loved Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia then you will also enjoy Under the Tuscan Sun. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true so don't waste your time.
Mayes takes these long, rambling literary journeys aroundabout the country she has come to love, lovingly describing the actual long, rambling walks and explorations she and Ed take in and around the countryside surrounding her new, beloved estate, Bramasole (literally, "yearning for the sun," isn't that lovely?!). Another warning, if you can't handle stream-of-consciousness, don't proceed any further. Of course, I thought I hated it too but obviously I just don't like it when Faulkner trots it out.
There are recipes for some of the mouthwatering dishes Mayes describes and I admit to wanting to make copies of things I will probably never make. I also admit to having a supreme craving for bruchetta right now and not a snowball's chance in hell of getting it anywhere around here. I'd have to drive 45 minutes just to approach anything even decently Italian...maybe I can talk Mom into it tomorrow as we are meeting for lunch.
Anyway, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast on so many levels...indulge yourself why don't you?!?!