My biggest regret about reading Map of Another Town and A Considerable Town by M. F. K. Fisher is that I didn't discover her earlier. She's one of those writers who feels like a friend.
|M. F. K. Fisher|
Born in 1908, she was one of the great food writers. Compared with the other food writers I enjoy, she is more approachable than Elizabeth David, and more serious than Julia Child. She writes about her own foibles and struggles in an endearing way that makes you wish you could talk to her in person.
Map of Another Town is a memoir of her years living in Aix, Provence, as a single mother, during the fifties and sixties. This book is no hilarious tale about buying a farmhouse like A Year in Provence. Fisher simultaneously felt like an outsider, while also forging deep relationships with the Aix natives. The people of the region were still reeling from the Nazi occupation and there are some heartbreaking incidents involving people who were so traumatized by the Germans that they can no longer function.
A Considerable Town is Fisher's memoir about Marseille, which she first visited as a young woman, and where she lived for a while after the time of Map of Another Town. Of the two books, I prefer the first one, but A Considerable Town is still an interesting portrait of Marseille. And now, of course, I really want to visit both Aix and Marseille. Either of these books would be a good choice if you're into travel or memoirs.