This was one of the books I forgot was in my bookcase - Chasing Cézanne: A Novel by Peter Mayle* - but it caught my eye this weekend and I breezed through it between cooking projects and helping the boys with their school projects.
On the Page
I would characterize this as a 'beach read.' If you find that appealing, then you'll like this; if you think that designation means the book lacks substance, you won't care for this. Although this doesn't immerse you in Mayle's typical 'good life' in France, it's a fun, light read and worth the brief time it takes to read it.
The plot centers on a stolen work of art, Woman with Melons, but I can't find an actual Cézanne painting with that title. So, perhaps it's fictional as well. The cast of players are a photographer, a magazine editor, her ruthless boyfriend, a girl, an art dealer, a forger, and Paris, yes, the city.
I have enjoyed other Mayle books. If you haven't read any, don't start with this one; I fear you'd never read another. But, as I said, it passed the time.
On the Plate
Unlike most books that include vivid descriptions of food, this one didn't actually compel me into the kitchen. So, maybe that says something on its own. But I did like this passage...
"Most people come to restaurants like this for the wrong reason. They come to impress, tos how that they can afford to spend a few thousand francs on dinner. And because money is holy to them, they behave as though they are in church."..."No laughter, not too much wine, no gusto." ..."But us, we are different. We are here to eat, to drink, to enjoy. We are enthusiasts. We believe in joie de manger, we are an audience for the chef" (pg. 202).
I've never seen that phrase - joie de manger - but I embrace it and think that my family definitely has that!
Here's what everyone else read in March 2018: here.