Italian Days (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
In ltalian Days, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison has two purposes: first, to describe various places in Italy so vividly that the reader has a sense of having traveled with her; and second, to explore her own reactions to the country from which both of her parents came, in order better to understand them and herself Because she has the gift of observation, Harrison has succeeded in her first objective. It is her second purpose, however, which gives this travel book its dimension, its direction, and its unity.
Harrison’s parents came to the United States from Abruzzi and Calabria, in southern Italy. Her visits to those areas and to her relatives there were to be the climax of her trip and of her book. Deliberately, Harrison began her stay in Italy in Milan, which was as far away as possible, both geographically and culturally, from the south, where her journey would conclude. Her chapter on Milan is followed by one on Venice and another on Florence. Midway through the book, she is at Rome, the midpoint of her journey south, as well as the place where she feels most serene, perhaps because it is the focal point of her Roman Catholic faith. The four remaining chapters take her to Naples and Amalfi, to Puglia, and to her ancestral areas, before she returns to Rome for her flight back to the United States.
Harrison’s treatment of Milan illustrates the approach which she uses throughout her book. She combines facts with impressions in order...
(The entire section is 1743 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The Atlantic. CCLXIV August, 1989, p.89.
Booklist. LXXXV, August, 1989, p.1938.
Glamour. LXXXVII, September, 1989, p.212.
The New York Times Book Review. XCI V, September 10, 1989, p.15.
Newsweek. CXIV, August 14, 1989, p.52.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXV, June 16, 1989, p.61.
USA Today. September 8, 1989, p. 4D.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, September 3, 1989, p.6.
(The entire section is 45 words.)