THE DANE CHANDOS BOOKS
COLLECTING BOOKS ABOUT MEXICO?
VILLAGE IN THE SUN
HOUSE IN THE SUN
ALL by DANE CHANDOS
These books were written in the early 1940s and VILLAGE IN THE SUN is still considered to be one of the most endearing books written about Mexico to this day. Set in the area of Ajijic, Jalisco, it gives a delightful view of the Mexicans and their culture without criticism and judgment.
The story is a most entertaining month-by-month account of an Englishman weathering his first year in Ajijic. It is written in a time when the road from Chapala to Jocotepec was a muddy trail and steam bed washouts were part of life during the rainy season. Ice was delivered by bus from Guadalajara, dropped off by the side of the road and left in the sun. In the process of building his house, the author gradually absorbs local customs while bonding with a colorful cast of characters.
HOUSE IN THE SUN. Once again Dane Chandos weaves a vivid Mexican tapestry of the same charm, color, humor and veracity that evoked from the readers of his first book, Village in the Sun, such a unanimously rapturous response.. The house which he was building in Ajijic, on Lake Chapala, south of Guadalajara, is now nearing completion and, at the time of which he writes, is converted to a small inn taking a few paying guests.
Here, Dane Chandos unfolds his day-to-day adventures as “Señor of the Inn,” an amateur hotelier who is at the mercy of both his loyal, unpredictable and often maddening servants, and of his equally unpredictable and maddening – though never boring – guests. All this is set forth with tender understanding and captivating wit against the background of the primitive little village which lies “between the lake and the paws of the mountains,” where anything can happen. HOUSE IN THE SUN has more descriptive details about Mexico than the previous book VILLAGE IN THE SUN as Chandos occasionally takes his guests on sightseeing trips such as a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Zapopan and a canoa trip around the lake. He drives to Uruapan and to the still-erupting volcano at Paricutín.
CANDELARIA’S COOKBOOK. A scruffy folder, faintly typed and badly eaten by mice, was discovered in the bottom drawer of an ancient roll-top desk in a house on Lake Chapala.
It turned out to be a collection of recipes, lovingly transcribed sixty years ago by an English writer, Dane Chandos, from the gnomic utterances of Candelaria, his Mexican cook. It includes such gastronomic triumphs as “Pork Bone that will Spot your Tablecloth” or “Bananas as I Arrange Them for Guests of the Last Minute”, and the “Eggs of a Señora who lived in Tuxcueca but Died.”
Arguably there are more practical cookery books available in print, but none with so much charm. “Do not disturb the Señor,” Candelaria used to tell visitors while the book was being written. “He is making a book. This time it is an important book. It is a book of how to cook.”
Candelaria’s Cookbook, written in both Spanish and English, is a beguiling classic, an eccentric masterpiece with some very unusual recipes and a unique insight into Mexican village life.
The above three books are delightful and essential reading for anyone who cares about the spirit of Mexico and its people.
All proceeds from the sale of these books go to the village of San Antonio Tlayacapan, to help towards the education of some of the young people of the village.
They may be purchased at:
Copies can be obtained from outside Mexico through Sombrero Books, or in AJIJIC at
- DIANE PEARL
- THE LAKE CHAPALA SOCIETY, 16 de Septiembre # 16A, Ajijic, Jalisco.
- LA NUEVA POSADA, Donato Guerra #9, Ajijic, Jalisco Tel: (376) 6.13.44 o (376) 6.14.44