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A gorgeous, dark, and sensuous book that is part cookbook, part novel, part eccentric philosophical treatise, reminiscent of perhaps the greatest of all books on food, Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin's The Physiology of Taste. Join Tarquin Winot as he embarks on a journey of the senses, regaling us with his wickedly funny, poisonously opinionated meditations on everything from the erotics of dislike to the psychology of a menu, from the perverse history of the peach to the brutalization of the palate, from cheese as "the corpse of milk" to the binding action of blood. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Diabolically clever, Lanchester's debut novel more than lives up to its advance hoopla. This purported "unconventional" cookbook-cum-memoir is a brilliant portrait of its narrator, a man whose professed gentility conceals a cold-blooded obsession and a sinister agenda. In a dry, supercilious manner, meant to display his soi-disant refined taste and superb erudition, Englishman and Francophile Tarquin Winot sets out to produce his physiologie du gout, a book that will include bona fide recipes (blini, fish stew), arcane culinary lore (the history of the peach), etymological disquisition (the origins of the words for coriander?from a variant of bedbug?and vodka) and fawning references to such culinary stars as Brillat-Savarin and Elizabeth David. Tarquin's commentary is larded with acidic bon mots, astringent asides and frequent invocations of figures ranging chronologically from Aeschylus to Auden, and culturally from James Bond to Luis Bu?uel. But what lies between the lines gives the narrative its insidious fascination, for in his casual references to the accidental deaths of servants, a neighbor and various family members, Tarquin gives away his true character, suggested by his early statement that "[t]here is an erotics of dislike." It is only gradually that the reader deciphers those clues and realizes that Tarquin is revealing far more than sibling rivalry when he insists that it is he?not his brother Bartholomew, a celebrated painter and sculptor?who has the true artist's genius. For those who appreciate linguistic virtuosity and light-fingered irony, who enjoy constructing a jigsaw puzzle out of tantalizing clues, this novel will be a lagniappe, fit for connoisseurs of fine food and writing. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPB featured selections; first serial to Granta; audio to Audio Literature; foreign rights sold to 16 countries; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An outstanding writer whose style is fluent and challenging. A sense of vocabulary that is undervalued in current society. His later works are equally rewardingPublished 16 months ago by Gina Tupper
I was able to read this little book for my book club. Not being of the literary ilk, at first I found it rather hard to read. Read morePublished on May 30 2002 by Ramona Honan
If you like dark comedies and find culinary arts even the least bit interesting, read this marvelous first novel from John Lanchester. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2001 by Dennis Grace
Yes, the narrator is brilliant. And he is very witty. But his "secret" comes clanking out far, far before it is meant to be discovered. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2001
This debut novel by the British book reviewer and food critic, John Lanchester, owes a roughly equal debt to Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin's The Physiology of Taste, perhaps the... Read morePublished on June 17 2001 by Orrin C. Judd
Tarquin Winot fancies himself a connoisseur, an arbiter of taste, a genius, and possibly, God. Unfortunately, this doesn't make him a very interesting narrator, since egomania... Read morePublished on April 25 2001 by tired bob
'The Debt to Pleasure' is a case of "what you see ain't necessary what you get". It starts off with a pompous master chef from England telling us about how to prepare... Read morePublished on April 14 2001 by lazza
You will feel more clever for having read this book. You will also learn more than you wanted to know about preparing food and the dangers of improper handling. Read morePublished on March 29 2001 by M. Asali
Tarquin Winot is from the Hannibal school of elegant criminals, but he is far more effete and philosophical than Lecter. He's also a narcissistic snob. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2001 by T. Olson