Under Magnolia

Under Magnolia

A Southern Memoir

Book - 2014
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"A lyrical and evocative memoir from Frances Mayes, the Bard of Tuscany, about coming of age in the Deep South and the region's powerful influence on her life. The author of three beloved books about her life in Italy, including Under the Tuscan Sun and Every Day in Tuscany, Frances Mayes revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia. With her signature style and grace, Mayes explores the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the lasting force of a chaotic and loving family. From her years as a spirited, secretive child, through her university studies--a period of exquisite freedom that imbued her with a profound appreciation of friendship and a love of travel--to her escape to a new life in California, Mayes exuberantly recreates the intense relationships of her past, recounting the bitter and sweet stories of her complicated family: her beautiful yet fragile mother, Frankye; her unpredictable father, Garbert; Daddy Jack, whose life Garbert saved; grandmother Mother Mayes; and the family maid, Frances's confidant Willie Bell. Under Magnolia is a searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves. With acute sensory language, Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South, the smells and tastes at her family table, the fragrance of her hometown trees, and writes an unforgettable story of a girl whose perspicacity and dawning self-knowledge lead her out of the South and into the rest of the world, and then to a profound return home"-- Provided by publisher.
"A memoir of author Frances Mayes's coming of age in the Deep South, and of the region's powerful influence on her life. Mayes delves into the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the force of a chaotic and loving family"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780307885913
Branch Call Number: B Maye
Characteristics: xxxiii, 293 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 03, 2017

A beautiful book, not an easy read. Maybe almost a little overwritten? I don't know if that's a valid comment, but sometimes the metaphors and allusions are pretty complex, and I only discovered the notes at the end when I was finished reading. I think I was expecting a more mellow book, as this author also wrote Under the Tuscan Sun. Here she writes a fascinating memoir of her childhood in the South, a rich and compelling picture about what it was like to grow up in Georgia, and with much of the memoir also ranging all over the other southern states. One of the most unique parts of the book was her description of going for two years to a "Woman's College" in the 60s. It's a world that hardly seems believable now.


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