A Tuscan Childhood

by Kinta Beevor | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0375704264 Global Overview for this book
Registered by marinaw of Dripping Springs, Texas USA on 9/28/2003
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by marinaw from Dripping Springs, Texas USA on Sunday, September 28, 2003
Found on the clearance shelf in an Austin bookstore. Goes to Mt. TBR. Will toss up toward the summit for a trade offer.

Description from back cover:
"All the beauty and enchantment of the Tuscan countryside is captured in this memoir of Kinta Beevor's idyllic bohemian childhood, spent with her family in their Italian castle in the years between the two world wars.

In 1916 Kinta's father, the painter Aubrey Waterfield, purchased the 16th-century Fortezza della Brunella in the Tuscan village of Aulla. There he and his writer wife lived at the heart of a vibrant artistic community that included Aldous Huxley, Bernard Berenson, and D. H. Lawrence, while Kinta and her brother explored the glorious countryside, helped with the grape and olive harvests, gathered wild mushrooms, and came to know and love the tough, resourceful Italians. With the coming of WWII the family had to leave Aulla; years later, though, Kinta would return to witness the courage and skill of the Tuscan people as they rebuilt their shattered world."

Journal Entry 2 by marinaw from Dripping Springs, Texas USA on Saturday, December 15, 2007
By the time I was one-third of the way through this book, I realized that the title was a bit misleading. There is more about Beevor's adult years documented here than childhood ones, but the constant theme is more about the area, the land, and the people, so not quite living up to my primary expectation was easy to forgive.

The travel descriptions, both in- and out-of-country were well-done; I had a very good feel for the scenery and the physical experience, and, the historical and geographic knowledge shared here definitely heightened my appreciation for my ancestor's homeland. The thing that makes this travel book special is that it was written by someone who has lived her research; and yes, you can tell the difference.

Also emotionally moving was her portrayal of the scope of wartime (political birth, hardships, and rebuilding). I have to say that I personally feel fortunate that my family emigrated to America well before this time, but I also have to wonder how well my distant cousins survived.

The list of Beevor's family and friends reads like a Who's Who of the literary and art circles of the time. In some sections, it seemed as though every other page had some reference to an author, artist, or book I wanted to follow up on; this book could really have used a good indexing.

The sad end to the "castles" truly made me melancholy for everything that's been lost due to war.

Here are some of the references and quotes I wanted to especially note:

"... we learned about the 'dance of the seasons', and how one should follow the rhythm of the year and its changing produce. One harvest followed another, domestic and wild crops alternating, each stimulating fresh dishes and all producing more than enough for immediate needs, so that the wise could dry or conserve enough to last until the following year. The earth, capable of producing such a perfect variety in the wild--garlic, mushrooms, chestnuts and truffles--possessed its own sacred mystery."

"They played Scoppa, which required the traditional Mediterranean pack of 40 cards with 4 suits--coins, goblets, swords and clubs (cavemen's clubs, not the conventional trefoil)--each running from one to seven plus a jack, queen, and king."

"Poggio Gherardo provided the setting for the first three days of The Decameron, when a group of young Florentines fled the plague of 1348. Boccaccio... had grown up only a few hundred yards away."

"Vernon Lee, alias Violet Paget, with her cropped hair and men's clothes with stiff collars... was particularly kind and gave me copies of all of her books, and more surprisingly, a loom, as if I were a character in one of her Tuscan fairy tales."

"Aunt Janet [Ross]... trusted [Giuseppe] Volti's opinion without reserve. It was he who provided all the recipes for her outstandingly successful book on Italian vegetable cookery, Leaves from our Tuscan Kitchen, first published in 1899, and still in print today in a version revised three quarters of a century later by my nephew Michael Waterfield."

[originally posted to Momma Writes About Books, and cross-posted to 43Things and allconsuming.

Journal Entry 3 by marinaw at Triumph Cafe OBCZ -3808 Spicewood Springs Rd in Austin, Texas USA on Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Released 10 yrs ago (12/9/2008 UTC) at Triumph Cafe OBCZ -3808 Spicewood Springs Rd in Austin, Texas USA

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Bringing to MeetUp, will leave on bookshelves if no takers.

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