Title: The Devil's Larder
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, NY, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.
Fine/Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000406
Synopsis: A sumptuous, scintillating stew of sixty four short fictions about appetite, food, and the objects of our desire
All great meals, it has been said, lead to discussions of either sex or death, and The Devil's Larder, in typical Cracean fashion, leads to both. Here are sixty four short fictions of at times Joycean beauty--about schoolgirls hunting for razor clams in the strand; or searching for soup-stones to take out the fishiness of fish but to preserve the flavor of the sea; or about a mother and daughter tasting food in one another's mouth to see if people really do taste things differently--and at other times, of Mephistophelean mischief: about the woman who seasoned her food with the remains of her cremated cat, and later, her husband, only to hear a voice singing from her stomach (you can't swallow grief, she was advised); or the restaurant known as "The Air & Light," the place to be in this small coastal town that serves as the backdrop for Crace's gastronomic flights of fancy, but where no food or beverage is actually served, though a 12 percent surcharge is imposed just for just sitting there and being seen.
Food for thought in the best sense of the term, The Devil's Larder is another delectable work of fiction by a 2001 winner of The National Book Critics Circle Award.
Review: In The Devil's Larder, Jim Crace has put together an odd and artful little volume that encompasses more of the human experience than it really ought to, given its size and scope. Crace presents us with 64 short fictions about food, which add up to a picture of life that is at once diabolical and innocent, creepily sexualized and free of judgment. In one fable, a mother and her small daughter twist their tongues together, ferreting out the food in each other's mouths: they want to know if food tastes the same from another person's tongue. A game of strip fondue ends with guests covered in burns where the molten cheese has fallen onto their naked flesh. "A gasp of pain. The whiff of sizzling flesh and hair and cheese." Flesh and cheese, that's the stuff. Crace shows us the odd outer limits of desire, and revels in the sheer weirdness of the daily act of eating. --Claire Dederer
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