Maggio, Theresa (Marion) 1952-
MAGGIO, Theresa (Marion) 1952-
Born October 29, 1952, in Pasaic, NJ; daughter of Joseph A. (a service station owner) and Dorothy Augusta (Botzenmayer) Maggio. Education: Wells College, B.A., 1974; Columbia University, M.S., 1983. Politics: "Independent." Religion: "Pantheist at the moment." Hobbies and other interests: Photography, filmmaking, paddle sports, trail riding.
Bartender in various restaurants and bars in Oakland, CA, Taos, NM, and Brattleboro, VT, late 1970s; Janos Optical, Townshend, VT, polisher of precision laser optics, 1975-79; Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, laser optics technician, 1979-83, science reporter, 1983-85; Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro, VT, reporter, night editor, photographer, 1987-91; freelance writer, 1991—.
National Writers Union, PEN New England North Writers.
Mattanza: Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily, Perseus (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
The Stone Boudoir: Travels through the Hidden Villages of Sicily, Perseus (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Freelance travel writer Theresa Maggio writes about her impressions of her grandparents' homeland, Sicily, and that region's fast-disappearing traditional cultures. In Mattanza: Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily, Maggio explores the world of traditional bluefin tuna fishermen. Sicilian fishermen set traps for the bluefin, capturing the fish in huge, complicated nets arranged to guide the fish into dead-end chambers where they are killed in a slaughter called mattanza. A Business Week contributor stated that this "is a way of life for island families." The contributor noted, however, that "with Atlantic tuna stocks now less than seventy percent of what they were in the 1970s and dwindling, it is a life on the critical list." Indeed, most critics praised the book for its ability to capture the fishermen's way of life. "Mattanza is a journal of essays touched with a romantic flavor," Science writer Barbara A. Block declared. "It combines the natural history of the Atlantic bluefin with human history and traditions." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that, "At her best, Maggio is a wry storyteller and a lyrical verbal landscapist."
In The Stone Boudoir: Travels through the Hidden Villages of Sicily Maggio "seeks out long-lost relatives, falls in love with the remote mountain towns of her ancestors, and settles in for longish sojourns far below the tourist stratum," according to Lis Harris, writing in the Wilson Quarterly. Because of her Sicilian ancestry, Maggio was able to explore Sicilian hill towns and their people in ways that would have been closed to other travel writers. "Her status, somewhere between besotted amateur ethnographer and tolerated foreign intruder with blood ties," Harris explained, "grants her special privileges." "Maggio writes pristine prose unsullied by prettiness or sentimentality," declared GraceAnne A. DeCandido in Booklist. "This memoir," DeCandido concluded, "offers an austerely voluptuous pleasure for anyone seeking the heart of Sicily."
Maggio told CA: "I write to digest and synthesize what I've lived, and to tell others about it. I write nonfiction, so first I do all the reporting, gather all the facts. Then in winter, I get up at 4 a.m., make coffee, stoke the fire and write until dawn or until I have ten pages. This I repeat five times a week until first draft is done. First draft is the scariest part—after that I start to rewrite, which I like.
"I wanted to make word pictures of the stunning beauty I had seen: the beauty, traditions, and lifestyles about to disappear forever."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2000, Vanessa Bush, review of Mattanza: Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily, p. 1707; March 1, 2002, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Stone Boudoir: Travels through the Hidden Villages of Sicily, p. 1080.
Boston Globe, June 16, 2002, Stephen H. Morgan, review of The Stone Boudoir, p. M6.
Business Week, July 3, 2000, review of Mattanza, p. 16.
Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 2000, Scott Knickerbocker, review of Mattanza, p. 16.
E, July, 2000, review of Mattanza, p. 60.
Library Journal, May 1, 2000, Stephanie Papa, review of Mattanza, p. 143.
Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2000, Cara Mia DiMassa, review of Mattanza, p. 3; April 18, 2002, Cara Mia DiMassa, review of The Stone Boudoir, p. E3.
New York Times Book Review, August 20, 2000, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2000, review of Mattanza, p. 66; February 4, 2002, review of The Stone Boudoir, p. 63.
Science, August 11, 2000, Barbara A. Block, review of Mattanza, p. 876.
Washington Post Book World, June 5, 2000, Nancy McKeon, review of Mattanza, p. C7; July 21, 2002, review of The Stone Boudoir, p. T13.
Wilson Quarterly, spring, 2003, Lis Harris, review of The Stone Boudoir, p. 113.