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Mother Tongue

* 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."



A few comments from earlier editions:



"It is in the confrontation of the cultures and in (its) restless questioning about how one should live one's life, that Mother Tongue shows its strength."

--Constance John, Books in Canada


"A warm and wonderful book. The author's powers of observation are extraordinary. WWM is to be commended both for her profound understanding of (multicultural) tensions and for her exceptional Virginia Woolf-like subtlety in presenting them."

         --McGills Literary Annual List


"If I had to choose among them (Mary McCarthy's Stones of Florence, Barbara Grissuti Harrison's Italian Days, or Wilde-Menozzi's Mother Tongue) I'd take Mother Tongue. This woman can write."

         --Lois Blinkhorn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Richly absorbing."

             --The New Yorker


"She treats her reader to wonderful set pieces on varied subjects, including a deeply felt meditation on the life of Giovanna Piacenza, a heroic 16th century abbess; an amusing and affectionate look at the elaborate culture surrounding the local bread; a recounting of the lurid gossip concerning Verdi's personal life."

      --The New York Times


"A wise and delightful work, admirable in its synthesis of understanding, independence, and rare humility."

     --Shirley Hazzard, The Transit of Venus          


"The depth of understanding Wallis Wilde-Menozzi has acquired about Italy is striking."

     --Francesca Avanzini-Gazzetta di Parma