Publisher Harcourt, November 2007
One of our most masterful memoirists has written her most personal, yet most universal book to date. 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, she remained, primarily and passionately, a daughter well into adulthood. Hampl traces the arc of faithfulness and struggle that comes with that role – from the post-war years past the turbulent Sixties.
Written from a depth of lived experience, The Florist’s Daughter is a tribute to the ardor of supposedly ordinary people. Its concerns reach beyond a single life to achieve a historic testament to mid-century middle America. At the heart of this book 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.
“Patricia Hampl writes the best memoirs of any writer in the English language. The Florist’s Daughter is her third memoir and her best by far – her first two were fabulous but she gets better with each book. But here is what I love about Patricia Hampl: Sentence for sentence she writes the best prose of any American writer, period. The rest of us cannot touch her.”
— Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season and Beach Music
“The Florist’s Daughter is a magical book. Patricia Hampl’s compassionate sense of history and understanding of human nature is matched only by the crystalline poetry of her words.”
— Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us and First Darling of the Morning
More delicious, funny, elegant and heartbreaking than any memoir in recent memory. I would read anything by Patricia Hampl, but this must surely be her best book.
— Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay