Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

Version: Unabridged
Author: Frances Mayes
Narrator: Frances Mayes
Genres: Biography & Memoir, United States
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: April 2014
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 10 hours
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Overview

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.

Author Details

Author Details

Mayes, Frances

"Frances Mayes is the author of three best-selling books about Italy. The number one New York Times best seller, Under the Tuscan Sun, remained on that list for over two years. It was followed by the memoir, Bella Tuscany, also an international best seller. These books are published in fourteen languages. In 2000, she published In Tuscany, a collaborative photo-text with Bob Krist and with her husband, the poet Edward Mayes. All three highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, and the pleasures of food as well as the ""voluptuousness of Italian life.""

A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written five books of poetry, most recently Ex Voto from Lost Roads Publishers. Her previous books of poetry are Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, and Hours. She is also the author of The Discovery of Poetry, published by Harcourt.

Formerly Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing, Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing. Her first novel, Swan, was published in October 2002. Ms. Mayes is the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. She and her husband continue to divide their year between San Francisco and Cortona, Italy. The film version of Under the Tuscan Sun (Disney / Touchstone, Fall 2003), features actress Diane Lane."