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Landscapes of the Heart: A Memoir by…

Landscapes of the Heart: A Memoir

by Elizabeth Spencer

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I've read some E. Spencer short stories and "The Light in the Piazza", which I thought was just about perfect. This memoir is just packed with life and with loud regrets and quiet triumphs. Spencer grew up in an old Southern slave owning family, yet the weight of the Civil War and living with segregation seems to weigh way too lightly on her privileged childhood. She tells one hideous anecdote about a woman who worked for the family who was beaten with a stick pierced through with nails. Her father put the woman on a train, just sent her away, and nothing was ever said. Unbelievable, or more sadly, too believable. She later wrote a novel called "The Voice at the Back Door" which alienated both sides of her Mississippi family.

She lived in Rome, Paris, Canada, and finally tried returning to the South but was not welcomed and could not hack Southern life as an adult. She learned and grew. One glorious part of the book is her strong friendship with Eudora Welty. Truly an author to love and a woman to admire. Excellent memoir, and she writes on! ( )
  froxgirl | Mar 11, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679457399, Hardcover)

Deeply rooted in the customs and culture of the American South, seedbed of countless extraordinary writers, Elizabeth Spencer also spent time in Italy and Canada, where she lived with her husband. She portrays her family and formative experiences with clear-sighted affection in luminous, deceptively simple prose familiar to readers of novels such as The Light in the Piazza. Literary friends, from Eudora Welty to Alberto Moravia, are captured with evocative aplomb. Spencer can nail an entire personality in a single phrase, as when she portrays Saul Bellow circa 1949, "at ease with himself and his talent."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)

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