A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Irise Rain

Letters From My Windmill

By Alphonse Daudet

"Letters From My Windmill" is my favourite travel campanion. I have had this book for years, and brought it on countless solitary trips, and could never bear to finish it.

Alphonse Daudet was a well known writer in his time, now over shadowed by time; and retreat into the lesser known French writers category. A native of Nimes in Provence; he had an immense love of the Provence countryside where he spent a happy childhood. This work is almost an auto biography where he described his memories of random people, experiences of the countryside while living in a deserted windmill somewhere in the region of Arles.

Daudet had a strong narrative style in his writing. The first line "It is the rabbits who have been taken aback!" sets the tone for the whole book. Every line speaks of the writer's fondness for the people and the places of Provence. He came alive in these surroundings, and he speaks with distaste of the city, Paris.

I brought this book with me when I travel to Provence last year. At the top of Les-Baux, there was the remain of a windmill, and imagine my delight in coming across it! Granted that it was not "the windmill", but it was still pretty special, especially as there was mention of Daudet in the tourists' introduction in the audio guide.

There was something enchanting in the way a forgotten time came alive in the book. Quirky characters, beautiful landscapes, humor, sadness, and a poignant sense of beauty. Every story is a gem, it was the little things that made a life; the really old couples in "The Old Couple", living on nothing more than a promise of having their beloved son back with them, and Daudet's own experience when he visited them, and was treated like their son, simply because he was a friend of their son. The dignity, longing, and humourous traits of the old couple was so powerful in allowng the characters to make an impressions, and tug at your heart.

To me, the stories in the book also speaks of the strong, resiliant, cheerful spirit of the Provence people. With the mistral ravaging through the countryside, the people of Provence are used to the rough, living their life alongside the wind; and making light of the hardship casted their way by nature. There was a certain stubborness, refusal to bow down to circumstances that characterise the people of Provence, which Daudet fully appreciated, and brought to life in his stories.

Buy Letters From My Windmill now on Amazon.com

Posted by Irise Rain 11:35 Archived in France Tagged books Comments (1)

Madam Bovary

By Gustave Flaubert

madame_bovary.jpgMadam Bovary is a tragic figure. Not just because of her ulitmate self destruction, but also because she is so tragically human. Her real tragic is not in the circumstances pushing her into desperation, but in the fact that she did not recogonised the real love and affection from her husband, and spent her life seeking impossibe romance, and fruitless passions. Because her own life was so sheltered, much like most women of her status during the era of the story, she chased a false ideal that she had nurtured as a romantic young girl, seeking impossible fullfillment into her womanhood. That passion eventually led to her downfall, and her family's.

But despite that, she also protrayed a very realistic side of human nature, we all have dreams, and ideals in our life, there are few like Emma Bovary who cast aside everything she had in relentless pursue towards it; most of us tend to be more pragmatic, bound down by fear and the realistic aspects of life. But in Madam Bovary, a human's needs to seek an ideal is magnified, and serves as mirror to our surpressed desires. All in all, Madam Bovary is a wonderful portrayal of the many facets of human characters, vividly cast in the many characters in the French countryside. It is tragic, funny at times, realistic, and give much food for thoughts. A story I would read again and again.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

Posted by Irise Rain 06:12 Tagged books Comments (0)

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