Frances Mayes' new book is titled A Year in the World. The operative word is "in".
Ms. Mayes doesn't just travel to different places. She wraps them around her and absorbs
them within her, using all five senses and a few more based in thought and memory, to
experience them as fully as possible. Then writes about them in a friend-to-friend personal
fashion that invites the reader to do the same.
The result is magic, and the perfect antidote to any kind of mental blahs. If you've
traveled to these places yourself, as I had in some cases, a few vivid phrases and you're
back. But back with an appreciative and adventurous traveling companion who sees things
you miss and has new insights to offer. If you've never been, well, sit back and enjoy
vicariously following Ms. Mayes' journeys on the charming old-fashioned end-paper maps,
as you recover from the horrors of a British rental house amidst riotously beautiful
gardens, accept your inevitable submission to the wiles of a charming Istanbul rug seller,
or taste the sharp freshness of new flavors in a tapas feast.
But the magic here is as much about what goes on in Ms. Mayes' thoughts as she shares
her experiences as it is in the experiences themselves. Real travel does more than just
tick off another entry on some master list of places passed through and sights seen. It
becomes part of who you are and who you will become. "The thousand patterns that I saw,
I see again, as though I am walking over them, which, I suppose, I am and always will."
Written in clear, evocative, passionate prose, this very personal book of journeys lets
the reader feel they are sharing her experiences, so that those experiences become part
of who they are as well.
Highly recommended as a reading pleasure (which it certainly was), but also to open your
eyes a bit more to the world around you -at home and abroad- and how you and it experience