VIVA MALLORCA! by Peter Kerr

VIVA MALLORCA!

One Mallorcan Autumn
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another season with the Kerr clan in sunny Mallorca.

Readers of Snowball Oranges (2002) and Manana Manana (2001)—both established Kerr’s reputation as a humorous travel writer—will remember that Kerr, with his wife and kids, moved from their Scottish farm to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Charmed by the weather and the promise of a simple life, the Kerrs bought an orange grove and settled in. Now, we find the family in their third season there, trying to make a go of those oranges. The jokey tone is set by the opening discussion of the death of Mario Lanzarote, a pet canary. Equally representative is the section on mosquitoes, which Kerr fears will carry him off alive. He tries a vinegar dip, prompting his wife, Ellie, to remark that he smells like fish-and-chips. Amid this Mallorcan menagerie, Kerr also sketches vignettes about the sex life of his neighbors and complains about the uninvited guests from Blighty who frequently drop by. The predictable elements of the genre are all in place. There’s a supporting cast of local eccentrics, Maria and Pep always on hand to give friendly advice. There’s low-grade family drama: Teenage son Sandy, who has become a “handsome hunk,” must decide whether to stay in Mallorca or return to Scotland. There are the requisite descriptions of Mallorcan cuisine—though some of the gustatory musings seem farcical, as when the Kerrs partake of a delicious bean stew and make the discovery that beans cause flatulence. And, of course, there’s a lesson learned: If you’re going to undertake a risky endeavor, you should commit yourself fully and hold nothing back. Meanwhile, some of Kerr’s efforts are more cutesy than funny—as when Maria shows off “succulent cuts of meat from her own fig-fed pig (last year’s model, of course).”

A bit like stand-up comedy: entertaining, but hardly deep.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59228-618-6
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2005