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Hardcover At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad Book

ISBN: 0345392019

ISBN13: 9780345392015

At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad

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Book Overview

"As beguiling and delectable as France itself." *Mimi Sheraton "Ann Barry tells her tale directly and clearly, without cloying artifice or guile, so that it has the warmth, honesty, and force of a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Soul-warming Book

I’m not quite sure how I came across this book, but I loved every bit of it. I had never heard of the author and found the story so warming, so normal….without pretense. I immediately wanted to read more of her work. And like losing a friend, I was crushed to find out she had passed when she was just three years older than I find myself to be at this point in my life. Carpe diem. I still ache when I think of parts of her story where she alludes to future plans of coming back, enjoying time with her childhood friend again now knowing she was soon gone. What was a delightful story turned into something more nostalgic, more philosophical, bittersweet even, when I found about her passing.

Ann Barry obituary - from the New York Times

Ann Barry, Editor And Writer, 53 (NYT) 245 words Published: February 19, 1996 Ann Barry, who pursued a freelance writing career while working as an editor at The New York Times and at The New Yorker, died of cancer on Saturday at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was 53 and lived in Brooklyn. Miss Barry, who was born in St. Louis and graduated from St. Louis University, started as an editorial assistant at the The New Yorker in 1967 before moving down the street to The Times in 1975. While designing and editing the Sunday Arts and Leisure Guide, editing art and dance reviews and designing the daily cultural pages, she began contributing articles to The Times, a career she continued and expanded after she returned to The New Yorker in 1990 as managing editor of the Goings On About Town section. Although she wrote on a variety of subjects, Miss Barry, who left The New Yorker in 1994, particularly enjoyed writing about the Dordogne region of southwestern France, where, not coincidentally, she owned a vacation home. Although she could spend only two or three weeks there a year, Miss Barry kept such meticulous track of her intense short-term experiences that she turned them into a book, "At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad." It is being published by Ballantine next month. She is survived by a brother, Gene, of Palm Harbor, Fla.

Enjoyable, Warmly Human, Ultimately Bittersweet and Moving

I was very moved by this memoir and would recommend it to anyone (it feels far more immediate and emotionally rewarding, for instance, than Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun").Unlike some that explore the same territory here (culture shock, setting up housekeeping in a foreign land, quirks of the locals, history of the region and its landmarks, discovery of cuisine and surroundings), there is subtle artistry in the way it's written, gentle looks into the basic human goodness of the French people in her circle, and knowing that the author died of cancer in middle-age before ever seeing this book published brings a bittersweet feel that grows as the last page nears (mentioning in passing in the final chapter, for instance, that she will skip a planned trip to a spa that year due to an event taking place in the village and that the spa will always be there next year has a strong resonance, as you immediately realize and want to call out protectively to her, Yes it will be there, but you will not]).Aside from the introduction to French life and characters, I found myself more transfixed by what I saw in Ann Barry herself -- a loner who never feels so right in the world as when she is on her own, and especially when in France as her truest self, even relishing that she has no telephone and can't be infringed upon by the outside world.Knowing that Ms. Barry will die after 12+ years of sharing her journey, I found myself not just reading the story but considering questions of self and meaning in life, and feeling a bit sad for a woman who never connected with a significant other and that the scars of childhood in a somewhat dysfunctional family were far-reaching, as is the case with so many of us. (That sounds depressing, but it's more a consistent subtext here that one attuned will see, and that, to me, enriched my interest in the work. Many people may read the book not coming away with that at all.)If you enjoy vicarious life and episodic memoir of someone who DID IT rather than THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I can think of no finer memoir that I've read of late, and I'm sure I will continue to think about the questions this raised in me about how we live our lives and what it all means and what good we can do for this world before we leave it, and for that I'm grateful to Ms. Barry for this work.

Charm without pretension-how refreshing

I actually read this book a number of years ago. I am a francophile, and do read many books of this ilk, but this was by far my favorite. I learned the author had died after I had read the book, and I did feel a personal loss with this woman I had never met. While the Peter Mayles and France Mayes of the world are wonderful fluff, sometimes you want the real meal and not just the pastries. This book is the real thing, no guile, no patronizing bemusement, but a charming candid experience of a perceptive woman in a culture she finds appealing, perplexing, frustrating, and alluring. She doesn't pretend that she is simply painting a water color on neutral canvas, but honestly and unselfservingly describes her own biases and perceptions. A wonderful recounting of a foreigner dipping into a new and different culture.

A Moving Memoir by An American At Home in France

---------------------------------------------------------------"At Home in France" rings true. Ann Barry's touch is unerring. Light. But the tales of her days in France are mysteriously moving. A fine, fine memoir. At the end of "At Home in France" a note "About the author" says all too briefly: "A former editor at The New Yorker and The New York Times, Ann Barry wrote extensively on travel and food. She died in 1996."Like other readers, we wondered what were the circumstances of Ann Barry's death? After searching for several hours, we found the sad answer in the archives of The New York Times in an obituary (Feb 19, 1996) titled "Ann Barry, Editor and Writer, 53." Ann Barry "who pursued a freelance writing career while working as an editor at The New York Times and at The New Yorker" had died of cancer two days earlier at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "She lived in Brooklyn." Near the end of the obituary, the unnamed writer states that: "Although she wrote on a variety of subjects. Miss Barry, who left The New Yorker in 1994, particularly enjoyed writing about the Dordogne region of southwestern France, where, not coincidentally, she owned a vacation home." It continues: "Although she could only spend two or three weeks there a year, Miss Barry kept such meticulous track of her intense short-term experiences that she turned them into a book, "At Home in France: Tales of an American and Her House Abroad." It is being published by Ballantine next month."The obituary says nothing about a funeral or memorial service for Ann Barry. We have to think that, although she was from St. Louis, lived in Brooklyn and died in Manhattan, her heart lies in France and she is enjoying (as she wrote): "the most beautiful moment Carennac had ever seen. And then we made our way home though the magical night." She is at home in France.

Bittersweet

Ann Barry's book is a great read! I spent this summer day sitting in a chaise lounge reading "At Home in France" from cover to cover. Her conversational style is very appealing, and as a former french language student of many years, I embraced the opportunity to brush up, dictionary at my side. I loved everything about the book from Ann's domestic crises to descriptions of the marketplace to the relationships with her neighbors and other townspeople to the details of mouthwatering menus.I want to bravely enjoy my life, even if alone, as Ann did. Not letting her aloneness stop her. I want to be at home in France. I didn't learn of her death until after reading the book--a bittersweetness revelation. I would love to have read more.
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