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A Gift from Brittany: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside
     

A Gift from Brittany: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside

4.7 3
by Marjorie Price
 

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The enchanting memoir of an artist's liberating sojourn in France during the sixties, and the friendship that transformed her life

While in her late twenties, Marjorie Price leaves the comfort of her Chicago suburb to strike out on her own in Paris and hone her artistic talents. Dazzled by everything French, she falls in love with a volatile French

Overview

The enchanting memoir of an artist's liberating sojourn in France during the sixties, and the friendship that transformed her life

While in her late twenties, Marjorie Price leaves the comfort of her Chicago suburb to strike out on her own in Paris and hone her artistic talents. Dazzled by everything French, she falls in love with a volatile French painter and they purchase an old farmhouse in the Breton countryside. When Marjorie's seemingly idyllic marriage begins to unravel, she forms a friendship with an elderly peasant woman, Jeanne, who is illiterate, has three cows to her name, and has never left the village. Their differences are staggering yet they forge a friendship that transforms one another's life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Price, an artist living in 1960s New York City in her 20s, traveled to France in search of an outlet for her artistic creativity. Enthralled by Paris's wrought-iron balconies and the urban landscape that inspired the Impressionists, Price was soon in a fervid romance with Yves, a Frenchman and artist, whom she married. Not long after the birth of their daughter, Danielle, Yves-against Price's protests-bought half a hamlet in a bucolic corner of Brittany, and Price was left with the arduous task of rehabilitating their seven broken-down farmhouses. As her once-quixotic marriage languished with Yves's increasing volatility and unreasonable demands that she stop painting, Price forms an unlikely friendship with her neighbor Jeanne, a villager in her late 60s who becomes her mentor-teaching her, above all else, self-sufficiency-while Price introduces her new companion to the art world and city life. In this sweet, simple memoir, Price redefines her idea of strength and resilience and commemorates a once-in-a-lifetime friendship. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Debut memoirist Price regales us with Life Lessons learned from a rustic Yoda named Jeanne. In 1960, the 28-year-old author left Chicago to pursue her dream of painting in Paris. There, she married a mercurial, dashing and charismatic French artist who imperiously carried her off to a ruined hamlet in a region of Brittany that seemed little altered since the Middle Ages. Approaching the area, Price declares, she had "a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach"-and thus begins a long array of cliches that sag on the slender threads of her sentences like wet wash on a fraying clothesline. Fears evaporate, people work feverishly, disasters are averted, dreams are fitful, feelings sweep over her, partings are bittersweet. Her story also follows a predictable path. As she became more attached to the property her husband had impulsively bought, he morphed into a monster. He was the real artist in the family, he told her; he forbid her to paint and destroyed her work when he found she'd been painting surreptitiously. Price separated from the lout and raised their daughter alone. But the real heroine here, she avers, is her elderly friend Jeanne. Most of the text celebrates, even beatifies, the actions of this local Earth Mother. After a pitchfork-wielding Jeanne arrived in the nick of time to save the author from a group of drunken laborers trying to rape her, the two became fast friends. Although Price put away her paints for a while, she eventually got them out again, moved to Italy and found success-but never forgot Jeanne. Apparently, she also hasn't forgotten a single word of their conversations from 40 years ago. Stickily sentimental and often unconvincing-more a memorial than a memoir.Agent: Liv Blumer/Blumer Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101217047
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/17/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
479,207
File size:
649 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Marjorie Price has been a painter all her life. She was bornin Chicago, graduated from Stanford University in speechand drama, and studied painting at the San Francisco ArtLeague and the Chicago Art Institute. In 1960 she left forFrance, where she created an art center and dedicated herselfto painting. In 1970 she moved to Italy with her daughter,Danielle, and settled in Rome. She exhibited her work ingalleries, and her graphics are represented in the permanentcollection at the National Museum of Copper Etching inRome. Returning to the United States in the late 1970s, sheworked in television and as a graphic designer, and has writtenseveral children’s books. She currently lives in New YorkCity and continues to paint and show her work in galleries.A Gift from Brittany is her first work of nonfiction.

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A Gift from Brittany: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a moving story about friendship--an improbable friendship between two women who appear to have nothing in common. The author, a university-educated American artist living in Brittany with her French husband and small daughter, and her neighbor, a Breton woman who has never been farther than walking distance from her small village, form a bond that strengthens both of them. There are other elements to this story, including a wonderful depiction of a vanished way of life, but its core is the heart-to-heart communication that transcends culture. This is a beautifully written and thought-provoking memoir.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story of the coming together of cultures and generations. I woman finds herself abandoned in a foreign land, without friends or resources, yet her own love for others provided the friendship and support she needed. She learned to find love right where she was. Fred Andresen, Author of Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia.