Review - Summer in the Islands

I can think of few better antidotes to a grey and miserable English winter than Matthew Fort's Summer in the Islands. It features a food writer and TV presenter in his sixties, setting off for six months of puttering around the Italian islands on a pink Vespa, obviously bringing us the eating highlights, but much more, the enjoyment of slowing down and simply living life in a series of fascinating landscapes, rather than the everyday battling through it back home.

In a puff on the back of the book, Jamie Oliver mentions the term 'midlife crisis'. Leaving aside any concerns about the definition of midlife, I'd say that Fort's adventures are the absolute antithesis of a midlife crisis. This isn't about showing off to your peers in an unsuitable sports car - it's about stepping into a different culture and gently absorbing and enjoying it.

The strange thing about the enjoyment of this book is that the reader does not need any sense of wanting to be in Fort…

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