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Review of ‘Under Magnolia’

BookPage Nonfiction Top Pick, April 2014

Frances Mayes’ lyrical memoir of growing up Southern was a long time coming. Worried about upsetting her family, she stopped and started Under Magnolia many times over: “Anytime I felt the impulse to start my Southern opus again, I instead headed for a movie or a new Thai restaurant,”…

Interview with Frances Mayes

In a frank and richly evocative memoir, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun recalls growing up in the Deep South.

Why did you feel now was the right time to write a memoir of your coming-of-age?

Moving from California (where I lived and worked for decades) back to the South reconnected me on many levels with the land I came from originally. Some of the connections were simple and primitive—the fecund and flowery smells, the cheerful sounds of the tree frogs, the grating drama of cicadas, the grand sunsets and the intense humidity.

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