Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
SHAGGY DOG STORY
"BOY ABSOLUTELY REFUSES TO GO ON tour," says Peter Mayle, 55, of his beloved hunting dog, a Griffon Korthals, whom the best-selling author's third wife, Jennie, discovered in a ditch near their Provence farmhouse in 1988. "Overtures were made, but he says he'd prefer to stay home in the comfort of his own basket," adds Mayle by way of explaining his current 14-city solo tour to promote A Dog's Life.
The memoir took Mayle a mere six months to turn out, but it gestated for seven years. "Boy and I go to my office to write every day," says Mayle, whose two breezy chronicles, Life in Provence and Toujours Provence, have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, "and in the gaps between sentences, we'd stare at each other, and I'd wonder what he thought about what I do." Finding the canine's voice came easily. "He's a combination of Marcel Proust and W.C. Fields," says Mayle. "Like Proust, he's French, he's reflective and he likes biscuits in bed; like Fields, he has very pronounced views, which are often quite offensive, about all sorts of subjects."
Boy is currently appraising the Hamptons, N.Y., where the Mayles have spent the winter. (They sold their home in the tourist-infested Lubéron and are looking for a less accessible property.) Mayle spends his days in the States—home to his five children ages 21 to 33—much as he does in France. "I write from 9 to 1, walk the dog, work in the garden, read. In the evening, I look at what I've written and throw half of it away," says the master, who, like Boy, tries to ignore reviews. "If Boy knew he'd had a bad one, and the critic was in biting distance, he'd probably maul him. And I wouldn't blame him a bit."
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