Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
January 19, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Lady in the Palazzo

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Marlena de Blasi
publisher
Algonquin Books
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B

Marlena De Blasi doesn’t so much observe life as devour it. In The Lady in the Palazzo, the former food writer’s third memoir about living with her Italian husband in his native land, she storms into Umbria in her big skirts and hiking boots to set up home in a dilapidated palazzo. While waiting for endless renovations, de Blasi eats, cooks, and mingles with the natives. Her robust appetite for life saturates the book — as she writes, ”if I, myself, were not delighted, what delight would I have to give?” — but occasionally her enthusiasm leads to scenery chewing, her own bella vita overwhelming the culture and people about which she is writing.

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