* 2020 Edition *
Foreword by Patricia Hampl and Preface by the Author
Mother Tongue, An American Life in Italy, describing WWM's early years living in Parma, was published in a new edition by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 2020. In the two decades since it first appeared, it has become "an underground literary classic." "Passionate, sensuous, even fierce," (Kirkus Review) it provides "at one and the same time, a rounded picture of a city and of a woman describing the flow of life itself...as in a symphony." (Gazzetta di Parma). Framed by Patricia Hampl's introduction and a foreword by the author, the book animates, in a completely original way, the complexity of country and a sense of self.
Tim Parks observes: "Mother Tongue is a sustained and generous meditation on difference, the discovery of oneself and one's own culture through the urgent need to come to terms with another. Few writers have savored Italy so intimately and intelligently...". Frances Mayes, whose books have led so many readers to travel to Italy, wrote in her latest work, "I read further into (WWM's) book about living in Parma, realizing at every page that her roots show how a visitor like me only treads the surface of the place."