Maria Calleja's Gozo: A Life History

Micheline Galley, Author, Maria Calleja, Author Utah State University Press $5 (245p) ISBN 978-0-87421-169-6
The humdrum details of the everyday life of a quiet, retired headmistress born in 1915 on a farm on Gozo--the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago--might be of interest for the unfamiliar setting. But in this transcription of lengthy and largely unedited interviews with her friend, ethnologist Galley (director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris) reveals little to differentiate life on Gozo from anywhere else. Although it was unusual that her father insisted on an education for his daughter, Calleja comes through as a conventional person without an inquiring mind or much insight into her culture. She discusses her father's emigration to Australia in search of a job, his return and his death, gives details of her daily life as a spinster dedicated to her mother, brother and teaching jobs, and talks about church socials, chores and neighbors. Galley's too-brief afterword sketches the island's history under Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, French, Spaniards, Italians and the Hospitaler Order of St. John of Jerusalem, without referring to their imprint on the culture. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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