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Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law - Katherine Wilson

Katherine Wilson heads to Naples for work experience in the US Consulate. Little does she realise she will fall in love, with Naples, with Italy and with Salvatore and his family.

 

Only in Naples is a love story. A true story. It is a book about finding a home and a family on the other side of the world.

 

The more I read, the more I fell under the spell of the Neapolitan culture. It was a pleasure to read about the lives and loves of Katherine, Salvatore and his family. It was also interesting to see how cultures compared, the differences often stark to a non native such as Katherine, who in turn often provoked incredulity with her Italian family when she told them of US customs.

 

The book is not only a memoir of a love affair but is in fact a tale of a love affair with a country and a society. And also a culinary love story. It becomes apparent that food plays a major role in the lives of Neapolitans. Emotions are expressed through what is made. The amount of love that goes into preparing a meal is seen in direct proportion to the love felt by those who make the food for those who consume it. Food is used as allegories, as tokens of affection and as non-verbal communication. It can show courtship, romance, customs, history, compassion or signal the break down in a relationship. It also means that you will inevitably be hungry when reading this book.

It also made me keen to visit Naples. Katherine Wilson’s obvious love for the city is evident in the book. The writing is engaging and animated. I could easily imagine the scenes depicted and the more I read, the more I wanted to visit.

 

Only in Naples is not just a travelogue or a memoir. It is a book about learning to live in another country, to speak another language and to find ways of bridging cultural barriers. It is told with gentle humour and an engaging style.