Dandelions

Thea Lenarduzzi,

Dandelions
 
 

Where, or what, is home? What has it meant, historically and personally, to be ‘Italian’ or ‘English’, or both in a culture that prefers us to choose? What does it mean to have roots? Or to have left a piece of oneself somewhere long since abandoned?
  In Dandelions, her extraordinary debut, Thea Lenarduzzi pieces together her family history through four generations’ worth of migration between Italy and England, and the stories scattered like seeds along the way. At the heart of this book brimming with the lives of remarkable and apparently unremarkable people is Thea’s grandmother Dirce, a former seamstress, who, now approaching 100, is a repository of tales that are by turns unpredictable, unreliable, significant. And that lead us deeper. There’s the one about Mussolini’s modern Icarus who crashed into the murk of a lake; about the Manchester factory worker who wanted only to be seen; about the shadowy demon who visits in your sleep; and the monument to a murdered politician that, when it rains, runs the colour of blood.
  Through the journeys of Dirce and her relatives, from the Friuli to Sheffield and Manchester and back again, a different kind of history emerges, in which self and place are warp and weft, tightly woven, with threads left hazardously trailing.
  A family memoir rich in folk legends, food, art, politics and literature, Dandelions heralds the arrival of an exceptional writer: bold, joyful and wise. 



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