But it is more than that. It is really an homage to a region of Italy that the author and his wife came to love, including digressions about olive farming, local bureaucracy and the intricacies of Vichese, the local dialect.
Given that this was self-published on Lulu, this is really an astonishing achievement, because the author and his wife would have been obliged to do everything to produce and market this softcover book. Nevertheless, I had two problems with the book. The first problem was with the occasional times when McEwan lapses into first person, which I found jarring as most of the story was told in third person, and there was nothing to motivate the switch. The second problem was with the way the book ended. It just stopped, leaving the reader up in the air, wondering if the couple ever caught the people who destroyed their fence and made off with some of their goods.
Ian McEwan is a good name to have in the writing world. In case you are wondering, this is NOT the famous British author, but a computer programmer turned olive farmer. Nevertheless, if you are eager to find out more about Puglia, this is not a bad book to read. Four stars.