Most of us know Donna Leon as the author of the Guido Brunetti mysteries. Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently welcomed Leon to talk about her memoir, Wandering Through Life. You can order a copy of Wandering Through Life through the Webstore. https://bit.ly/3ZTDXP4
Here’s the summary of Wandering Through Life.
The internationally bestselling author of the Guido Brunetti mysteries tells her own adventurous life story as she enters her eighties
In a series of vignettes full of affection, irony, and good humor, Donna Leon narrates a remarkable life she feels has rather more happened to her than been planned.
Following a childhood in the company of her New Jersey family, with frequent visits to her grandfather’s farm and its beloved animals, and summers spent selling homegrown tomatoes by the roadside, Leon got her first taste of the classical music and opera that would enrich her life. She also developed a yen for adventure. In 1976, she made the spontaneous decision to teach English in Iran, before finding herself swept up in the early days of the 1979 Revolution. After teaching stints in China and Saudi Arabia, she finally landed in Venice. Leon vividly animates her decades-long love affair with Italy, from her first magical dinner when serving as a chaperone to a friend, to the hunt for the perfect cappuccino, to the warfare tactics of grandmothers doing their grocery shopping at the Rialto Market.
Some things remain constant throughout the decades: her adoration of opera, especially Handel’s vocal music, and her advocacy for the environment, embodied in her passion for bees—which informs the surprising crux of the Brunetti mystery Earthly Remains. Even as mass tourism takes its toll on the patience of residents, Leon’s passion for Venice remains unchanged: its outrageous beauty and magic still captivate her.
Having recently celebrated her eightieth birthday, Leon poignantly confronts the dual challenges and pleasures of aging. Complete with a brief letter dissuading those hoping to meet Guido Brunetti at the Questura, and always suffused with music, food, and her sharp sense of humor, Wandering through Life offers Donna Leon at her most personal.
DONNA LEON, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.
Anyone who enjoys memoirs should enjoy the conversation about Donna Leon’s memoirs.