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memoirs
Southeastern

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

 
 
Author
Frances Mayes.
Publisher Crown  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 6 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780307885913
Pages/Publication Date 293/2014
Daedalus Item Code 61569
This item is not available.
Description
The author of Under the Tuscan Sun, Every Day in Tuscany, and other books about her life in Italy, Frances Mayes here revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia, in a lyrical and evocative memoir. From her years as a spirited, secretive child, through her university studies—a period of exquisite freedom that gave her an appreciation of friendship and a love of travel—to her escape to a new life in California, Mayes exuberantly re-creates the intense relationships of her past, recounting the bitter and sweet stories of her complicated family. We meet 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. Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South—the smells and tastes at her dining table, the fragrance of her hometown trees—in this searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves.

"As gothic as anything Faulkner could have dreamed up, populated by characters straight out of a Flannery O'Connor story ... a thorny memoir that strips away the polite Southern masks, sweet magnolias be damned. Unforgettable."—Atlanta Journal Constitution

"A gorgeous, dreamy remembrance of hot Southern afternoons, mothers in red lipstick and Shalimar, Elvis turned up loud to cover up the family troubles that ran deep. An unflinching love song to her simultaneously rich and troubled childhood, it is Mayes's most generous work yet."—BookPage

"Mayes, adored for her famed Tuscany books, mined the murky depths of her family's history for her first novel, Swan. She now returns to the scene of the crimes in both literal and figurative senses. Her 'southern memoir' is a tale straight out of Faulkner, rife with episodes of dissipation and disillusion, parents who loved and fought with equally wild abandon, and ancestors with names like Big Mama and Daddy Jack. While on a book tour in Oxford, Mississippi, Mayes realized her southern roots ran deeper than she believed or would have liked. But she and her husband were sufficiently compelled to relocate from Northern California to North Carolina, settling in a university town with a far enough remove to allow her an objective distance from which to analyze the signature episodes of her childhood. With her trademark skill for capturing the essence of place and time, Mayes candidly reveals a youth riddled with psychological abuse and parental neglect that, nevertheless, ignited a fiery passion for adventure and self-discovery."—Booklist

 
 
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