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Writer and longtime TLS editor Thea Lenarduzzi joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to speak about her debut book Dandelions, a winner of the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize. Weaving together memoir, history, and criticism, Dandelions explores the life of Lenarduzzi’s grandmother, Dirce, a totemic figure in her family who was born almost a century ago into Mussolini’s Italy. Political and economic circumstances, as well as personal tragedy, force Dirce to leave Italy for England, first as a child and later as an adult. Migration becomes one of the central realities of her life, and subsequently the life of her son and then Lenarduzzi herself. But even as the conditions of these moves between countries grow less critical, the difficulties of immigrating remain, complicating and splintering a sense of identity and home, foregrounding difference, and calling belonging into question. Lenarduzzi portrays the gravity of what for so many across the world is still the most dire of decisions, tracing the effect emigrating can have over multiple generations, while also finding inspiration in her family’s resiliency and the stories they leave behind.
Also, Colin Dickey, author of Under the Eye of Power, returns to recommend Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young.