Tales from the Pays d’Oc
Twenty-one tales of life, love and laughter in the land of sun and vines.
What is Matthieu doing up an olive tree? Why won’t Joséphine ever eat pizza again? Who went four by fourth? And who rescued two hapless Americans at Armageddon Falls?
Travel to the Languedoc, feel the scorch of the sun on your shoulders, smell the dust and the lavender and the ripening grapes and follow the adventures of the Saturday Club and the regulars at l’Estaminet.
In this collection of stories, Patricia Feinberg Stoner revisits the territory of her memoir, ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ with a whole host of new and familiar characters.
As an expat in France myself I was really looking forward to reading this book, which turns out to be a total gem. I love discovering other people’s versions of France. With this book it’s via a fictional route, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s based, however loosely, on the author’s experiences.
You don’t have to be an expat to love every minute of this charming collection of vignettes set in and around the Languedoc village of St Rémy des Cévennes.
The antics of members of the Saturday Morning Club, who meet at the Café de l’Ane (the Donkey Café, which I suspect is a tongue in cheek name!) keep us entertained. This assortment of characters, some local but most blow-ins from various distances, form a good-natured assembly with their shared love of their life in France as the gelling point. We meet most of them in more detail in various amusing exploits. The author is particularly good at portraying relationships – the way Henry plays the part in the Club of the old-fashioned English gentleman who’ll never quite fit in, but with his French wife he’s actually more immersed than others. The patient ‘yes dears’ from tolerant wives, the teasing by one partner of another, and so on. It’s beautifully done and really brings the book to life.
The descriptions are wonderfully detailed. I can picture every scene clearly and feel the heat of the summer days, hear the sounds of the busy market, and smell the truffle that Useless (who isn’t at all) finds.
This is a light and enjoyable read, something you can devour in one go, like a warm croissant, or take leisurely nibbles from, like baguette that accompanies a salad-based lunch. Either way, it’s thoroughly delightful.
About Patricia Feinberg Stoner
Patricia Feinberg Stoner is a former journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist. For four years she and her husband were accidental expatriates in the Languedoc, southern France. During that time she wrote a series of magazine articles which eventually became her first book about the Languedoc: ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc.’
?Now back in the UK, she lives with her husband in the pretty West Sussex village of Rustington, where Michael Flanders encountered a gnu and the mobility scooter is king.
She spends much of her time writing short stories and comic verses. Her first book, ‘Paw Prints in the Butter’, is a collection of comic poems for cat lovers, and is sold in aid of a local animal charity. In 2017 she published her second book of comic verse: ‘The Little Book of Rude Limericks’.
?In the autumn of 2018 Patricia returns to the locale of ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ with a new collection of stories: ‘Tales from the Pays d’Oc’.
You may occasionally find her on Twitter @perdisma.