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Hotel Pastis

Hotel Pastis

3.9 10
by Peter Mayle

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Peter Mayle’s delightful bestsellers A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence redefined the phrase “great escape.” Now he has made that irresistible landscape the setting for a beguiling novel of romance, adventure, and tongue-in-cheek suspense.

Simon Shaw, a rumpled, fortyish English advertising executive, has decided to chuck it


Peter Mayle’s delightful bestsellers A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence redefined the phrase “great escape.” Now he has made that irresistible landscape the setting for a beguiling novel of romance, adventure, and tongue-in-cheek suspense.

Simon Shaw, a rumpled, fortyish English advertising executive, has decided to chuck it all in and transform an abandoned police station in the Lubéron into the small but world-class Hotel Pastis. On his side, Simon has a loyal majordomo and a French business partner who is as practical as she is ravishing. But he hasn’t counted on the malignant local journalist—or on the mauvaise types who have chosen the neighboring village as the site of their latest bank robbery.

Slyly funny and overflowing with sensuous descriptions of the good life, Hotel Pastis is the literacy equivalent of a four-star restaurant.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As fans of A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence may have suspected, Mayle's skills as a writer translate well into fiction. His first novel is as adroit, funny and charming as his previous works, and again it is set in his favorite region of France. Newly divorced, disenchanted and bored with his job as a director of a prestigious British ad agency, Simon Shaw is delighted when beautiful Frenchwoman Nicole Bouvier suggests that he rescue from bankruptcy a half-finished hotel in the drolly named town of Brassiere-les-Deux-Eglises. Taking a huge risk, Simon resigns from his agency and becomes patron of the new establishment in the picturesque Luberon region. In counterpoint, Mayle crosscuts to the escapades of a lovable band of criminals who are conspiring to break into the vault of a bank in the neighboring village of Isle-sur-Sorges. As the threads of the plot begin to converge, Mayle displays his satiric eye for social foibles by skewering advertising execs in England and the U.S.; he is equally adept at evoking typical Provencal villagers. Wickedly sharp and sympathetic at the same time, his characterizations are accurate down to nuances of class differences, voice, accent and vocabulary. The novel is as smooth as a sip of pastis, and one hopes that Mayle will find his segue into fiction equally addictive. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Mayle's first novel is carefully abridged and wonderfully read by Tim Pigott-Smith. The tale is one of contrasts: the traditional values of Provence and the pressures of international business; the complexities and delights of haute cuisine and the simplicity of pastis; the diversity of values of people from Britain, France, New York, and Texas; and honest labor and a bank robbery in Provence. Some familiarity with the French language, though not required for following the action, will add considerably to the listener's enjoyment. Piggott-Smith's narration and his mastery of dialect, along with the high production quality of this audiobook, make this rendition an absolute delight for the general listener. Very highly recommended.-- Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., Ohio
Kirkus Reviews
Consumer glories rendered by a master (the velvety Acquired Tastes, 1992) in a richly amusing first novel set in London and Provence, even more stylish than Mayle's travel hits (Toujours Provence, 1991, etc.). The productive Mayle also has a new nonfiction work this season (Up the Agency, p. 38), which pours lime on his 13 years as a junior copywriter and then creative director in the Madison Avenue ad arena. That background feeds into his novel—the story of cultivated advertising colossus Simon Shaw, now 42, tired of the ad game, divorced by his "neglected" wife (his former secretary), who has gone high society with a mania for fancy decoration. Taking his first vacation in over two years, Simon solos into sleepy BrassiŠre-les-Deux-Eglis, where his injured Porsche must remain while parts are shipped in. Simon deliquesces in Paradise, or melts into sappy goo, under the tanned cleavage of Nicole Bouvier, a homeowner pinched by thin alimony payments. A London meet with the Rubber Barons, a condom company offering a $30 million-dollar account, and a visit to Nicole convince him that he's burnt out at advertising and would much rather refurbish the abandoned gendarmerie in BrassiŠre and turn it into a first-class hotel, with the aid of his tartly well-spoken major-domo Ernest—and Nicole! Meanwhile, Hotel Pastis meets Big Deal on Madonna Street as a band of thieves dryly plan and carry out the July 14th holiday robbery of the most picturesque little bank in Provence, an event that becomes the unwanted kidnapping of a multibillionaire's son. A cedar box of Havana Churchills, a pint of white diamonds—the gift novel par excellence, its smart dialogue at full glitter throughout.(First printing of 100,000 is just frog jelly before the tads pop.)

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Mayle spent fifteen years in the advertising business, first as a copywriter and then as a reluctant executive, before escaping Madison Avenue in 1975 to write educational books for children.  In 1990, Mr. Mayle published A Year in Provence, which became an international bestseller.  He is also the author of Encore Provence, Toujours Provence, A Dog's Life, Anything Considered and Chasing Cezanne.  In addition to writing books which have been translated into more than twenty languages, Mayle has contributed to the Sunday Times, Financial Times, Independent, GQ and Esquire.  He and his wife and two dogs live in the South of France.

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Hotel Pastis 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
TLeopard More than 1 year ago
Peter Mayle has such a way with words. I loved this book. Made me want to move to France.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Mayle introduced many of us to Provence through his travel books. His fiction is equally enjoyable. This book is a fun view of the Provencal lifestyle. Great reading after a boring day at the office.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read several of Peter Mayle's books and I thought Mr. Mayle had a fun writing style until this book, Hotel Pastis. I found it offensive and written from a strong male perspective which was just boring and not interesting. I had recommended this book for our bookclub read this month and I am embarrassed that I did. I wish I would have read a true review of the book that would have at least given an R rating for language. Mr Mayle must have decided to leave his charming style for vulgarity and edge that won't appeal to his previous followers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I HIGHLY recommend Mayle's 'travel' books such as 'A Year in Provence' and 'Encore Provence' I am not as enamored with his fiction. Yes, he includes his trademark descriptions of French villages and food, but his characters seem phony and flat. Perhaps the difficulty lies in the fact that this contrived story pales in comparison to the charm of Mayle's 'real' France.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Mayle has a style all his own: clever, witty, and filled with fun! Here Mayle tells the story of how a burnt-out advertising man from London leaves it all behind to start anew in the South-of-France as the owner of a charming (renovated) hotel and the beau of a ravishing Frenchwoman. Great fun for a summer afternoon!