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Incontinent on the Continent

My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy

Regular price $21.00 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553654001
  • Tags: Audiobook Available, Biography & Memoir, Jane Christmas, Literary Non-fiction, Travel & Adventure,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 8/24/2009
  • 288 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781926812137
  • Tags: Audiobook Available, Biography & Memoir, Jane Christmas, Literary Non-fiction, Travel & Adventure,
  • Published On: 10/01/2009
  • 288 Pages

Audiobook Available (Complete List from Greystone)

Since the beginning of time, mothers and daughters have had notoriously fraught relationships. "Show me a mother who says she has a good or great relationship with her daughter," Jane Christmas writes, "and I'll show you a daughter who is in therapy trying to understand how it all went so horribly wrong."

To smooth over five decades of constant clashing, Christmas takes her arthritic, incontinent, and domineering mother, Valeria—a cross between Queen Victoria and Hyacinth Bucket of the British comedy Keeping Up Appearances—on a tour of Italy.

Neither has been to Italy before, but both are fans of ancient art, architecture, and history. Will gazing at the fruits of the Italian Renaissance be enough to spark a renaissance in their relationship? As they wander along the winding Amalfi Coast, traverse St. Peter's Square in Rome, and sample the wines of Tuscany—walkers, biscuits, shawls, and medications in tow—they revisit the bickering and bitterness of years past and reassess who they are and how they might reconcile their differences.

Unflinching and frequently hilarious, this book will speak to all women who have tried to make friends with their mothers.

Jane Christmas is the author of Incontinent on the Continent, What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim, and The Pelee Project. Her most recent memoir, And Then There Were Nuns, was shortlisted for the 2014 Leacock Medal. She has three grown children and lives in England.


"Incontinent on the Continent: My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy . . . Christmas shares with her characteristic wit and humor about her decision to take her arthritic, incontinent and harsh-tongued mother (and her red walker) to Italy." -Sarnia Observer

"Incontinent on the Continent is reader and traveler delight. It highlights being both a mother and daughter, reflecting on the experience of a woman raising children who suddenly realizes that all the nurturing and handholding she did with her kids must now be done with her mother, who in her childhood was her rock." -Bella Online

"Christmas is a fine travel writer, and the personal journey she shares is one with which more and more of us are dealing as all our lives move, with welcome and enriching detours, down their one-way streets." -Globe & Mail

"Jane Christmas . . . has a memorable last name, but it will be etched in more people's memories come September, when she follows her funny 2007 travel book What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim with the true story of taking her mother to Italy, piquantly titled Incontinent on the Continent." -Canwest News Service

"I'm certainly glad we had the trip. The book shows we had a wonderful time. It was good. It's no fun with a walker. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." -Toronto Star

"The mother daughter relationship. For women writers it is the great volcano. You'd have to be crazy to go there, but then if you don't, you can't wear the t-shirt . . . Jane Christmas can tell you she knew it wasn't going to be like eating strawberries at Wimbledon . . . but she did not suspect, when she concocted the idea of traveling to Italy with her mother, just how challenging it would be, physically and psychologically." -Hamilton Spectator