The Florist's Daughter by Patricia Hampl

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Synopsis

During the long farewell of her mother’s dying, Patricia Hampl revisits her midwestern girlhood.Daughter of a debonair Czech father, whose floral work gave him entrée to St. Paul society, and a distrustful Irishwoman with an uncanny ability to tell a tale,Hampl remained, primarily and passionately, a daughter well into adulthood. She traces the arc of faithfulness and struggle that comes with that role—from the postwar years past the turbulent sixties. At the heart of The Florist’s Daughter is the humble passion of people who struggled out of the Depression into a better chance, not only for themselves but for the common good.Widely recognized as one of our most masterly memoirists, Patricia Hampl has written an extraordinary memoir that is her most intimate, yet most universal, work to date.This transporting work will resonate with readers of Francine du Plessix Gray’s Them: A Memoir of Parents and JeannetteWall’s The Glass Castle.
 

About Patricia Hampl

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PATRICIA HAMPL is the author of four memoirs—A Romantic Education, Virgin Time, I Could Tell You Stories, and Blue Arabesque—and two collections of poetry. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, among many other awards. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
 
Published January 15, 2009 by Mariner Books. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Florist's Daughter

The New York Times

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While her brother left for the West Coast, Hampl remained behind while her father suffered heart attacks and her mother grand mal seizures, dutiful despite being the “family hippie, onetime pot smoker and strident feminist who refused for years to marry.” The truth — one Hampl readily admits — is...

Oct 07 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

The New York Times

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Although Patricia Hampl yearned to leave home, she stayed to care for her parents.

Oct 07 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Publishers Weekly

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Hampl’s wary Irish mother, a library file clerk, endowed her with the “ traits of wordiness and archival passion.” Like Hampl, Mary was a kind of magic realist—a storyteller who, finding people and their actions ancillary, “could haunt an empty room with description as if readying it for trouble....

Jul 09 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Star Tribune

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This St. Paul daughter's tale, from the master of the memoir form, is told with breathtaking intensity, high lyricism and cool blue irony.

Sep 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Book Reporter

Fond of telling cautionary tales and of reading her horoscope (her astrological sign and its accompanying personality traits cause Hampl to dub her mother "Leo the Lion"), Hampl's mother is an Irish Catholic, ironic, cautious and distrustful.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Entertainment Weekly

In her lovely, elliptical memoir of family and loss, Patricia Hampl brings her late mother and father back to life — then gently lays them to rest again.

Sep 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Bookmarks Magazine

In this moving ode to her unassuming, working-class parents, Stan and Mary Hampl, memoirist Patricia Hampl revisits the past as she witnesses her mother's last moments.

Dec 03 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Oprah.com

Patricia Hampl's memoir, The Florist's Daughter (Harcourt), is set in St. Paul, Minnesota, a place where ordinary people live "faultlessly ordinary lives."

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Story Circle Book Reviews

Hampl eventually becomes the caretaker of her handsome Czech father, who was the florist to know in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her Irish mother—sassy, distrustful, with a talent for telling a good tale and drinking herself into a stupor while telling it.

Nov 02 2007 | Read Full Review of The Florist's Daughter

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed Patricia Hampl is known for her exquisite prose and her knack for memoir writing.

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Project MUSE

Throughout the book, Hampl ponders whether she is chiefly the daughter of the quiet Czech florist, or the daughter of the more talkative, bookish Irish librarian who prides herself on her Zodiac sign, Leo, and whom Hampl refers to throughout the memoir as “Leo the Lion.” In her father, Stanisl...

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