Barbara Hamilton Smith reviews a delightful autobiography
Tuscan Harvest by Vernon Bartlett (Chatto & Windus £1,50) ir HAD inevitably become a bore'--so writes Mr. Bartlett apropos his old age in the first chapter of this book. What a lie! Those of us who are lucky enough to number septuagenarians among our friends, will be delighted to add another to the list.
This delightful autobiogra phical book fulfils the first re quirement of good journalism 'readability,' but this is of course much mote than journalism. Vernon Bartlett owns a villa near Lucca with fifteen acres of problems where he grows olives and vines, nursed by his Italian overseers and
guided by Virgil's Georgics! The warmth and humanity of all Italy is here, and the humorous acceptance of hardships, a quality once thought to be especially British.
Not that Mr. Bartlett is starry-eyed about Italy — he underlines the dangels of the strangling bureaucratic red tape and political graft which are patently causing social unrest, strikes, etc, A clearsighted book with so much charm and so many intriguing reminiscences of a full life, together with a personal involvement and unsentimental 'caritas.' Those readers who know Italy, whether from experience or hearsay, from sun seeking Si! pilgrimage, will look forward to the next evocative instalment.