A YEAR IN THE VILLAGE OF ETERNITY

THE LIFESTYLE OF LONGEVITY IN CAMPODIMELE, ITALY

A small Italian village’s secret to the Fountain of Youth. 

Deep in the heart of the Aurunci range on the shores of central Italy lies a village where the average life expectancy for both men and women is 95, earning it the sobriquet Il Paese dell’Eterna Giovinezza (The Village of Eternal Youth). This fact caught the attention of British journalist Lawson, who traveled to Campodimele to investigate the phenomenon. “I came to Campodimele hoping I might learn how to live longer, but discovered something much more important—how to live well,” she writes. The author’s lighthearted mix of recipes and anecdotes are written with delicate prose that pays homage to the area’s lifestyle and emphasizes the value of subtleties attributed to the residents’ longevity. Lawson divides the sections by month, focusing on what the seasonal harvest brings—snails, wild boar, asparagus and more. Lawson observes that Italians don’t “need an official call to celebrate. A new crop is a chance to invite your neighbors for lunch and enjoy the first fava beans of the year; a sunny day is an excuse for a walk in the mountains and meat grilled over an open wood fire; the start of the hunting season is the moment to gather friends for dinner to share your first kill of the year.” It’s an ideology she soon embraced. The author’s account of a year in Campodimele doesn’t burden readers with scientific information involving genetics, environment and diet. Rather, it captures the essence of everyday life. Delightfully transports readers into the kitchens and the spirits of the villagers’ longstanding customs.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59691-502-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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