This was the first Peter Mayle book I ever read, and I had no idea that he was a travel writer so I was in a totally different frame of mind when I read it, expecting an art heist thriller. But like all Mayle’s books, Chasing Cezanne is more like a travel book than anything else. It also reads like chick lit, which is kind of weird, because the protagonist is male.
Except that it’s got to be the most leisurely chase I’ve ever read — Andre and his gang (a fastidious art dealer, plus Andre’s love interest Lucy) stop to eat and sightsee (and sleep together) every chance they get, hehe.
The language is languid and dreamy, the descriptions are beautiful and picturesque. No rip-roaring chases here — the book is more like Under the Tuscan Sun than Da Vinci Code.
Even Cezanne is only incidental, you can substitute some other painter’s name in the title and the story wouldn’t change, that’s how little Cezanne. And there’s very little actual art discussed, other than the process of selling famous paintings and a bit of forgery (haha, Incognito was a great movie for that!). Actually I think even the mystery is only incidental, it was just a reason for Andre to get together with Lucy and romp from New York to Paris and the South of France.
Worth reading for the travelogue and food commentary — this is what Mayle does best, and he delivers commendably, but mystery lovers might feel shortchanged.
My copy: trade paperback upgraded into a hardcover with dust jacket
My rating: 3/5 stars
Photo courtesy of Amazon (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5154TY62ARL.jpg)