This deliberate and meticulous biography chronicles the life of a remarkable food writer whose self-sufficiency and love of nature placed her ahead of her time.
Patience Gray, the author of the classic Honey from a Weed, lived off the grid in southern Italy from 1970 until her death in 2005. She grew almost all her own food, and wrote and made art primarily for her friends and family. Fasting and Feasting is broadly appealing as it explores her life and philosophy.
A valuable resource on Gray’s early life and career as a journalist, the book, incorporating meticulous research, bears much fruit. Descriptions of Gray’s career, motivations, and personal life are extremely detailed. That this slows the pace of the book is in keeping with Gray’s personal philosophy: speeding through conveniently is a poor substitute for taking time and savoring the process.
Though it only rarely draws a strong connection between Gray’s love of nature and modern awareness of sustainability, the book offers a valuable example of what a sustainable lifestyle can offer to the modern world.
Aside from being a woman who stood on principle in an age when she was generally expected to behave herself, Gray is a captivating biographical subject and spokesperson for simple, slow living. Modern audiences, particularly those interested in eco-friendly alternative structures for their lives and careers, will find this book to be a worthy read.
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