Born in Peru of Italian immigrant parents, curator and novelist De Ferrari (A Cloud on Sand) here offers a memoir "saturated with powerful echoes and profound longings for a place I can never leave behind." The author writes elegantly about a local culture she first learned through black-clad neighbors and Indian maids. She recalls her dignified, decent father, her mother's passage from an Italian convent to become a wife in Peru and her parents' roles as unofficial Italian ambassadors in the town of Tacna. She recounts grade school alienation and the enthusiastic college roommate who taught her Americanisms. Though De Ferrari tells little of her adulthood, in some chapters she contrasts past and present: Tacna has become a city and, like so much of Peru, is now a place of drugs and fear. And De Ferrari observes that she has gained an American openness that differs markedly from the behavior of cousins she meets in Italy.