ISBN 10: 0140276416 / 0-14-027641-6
ISBN 13: 9780140276411
Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
Publication Date: 2002
THE DEVIL'S LARDER is a cumulative novel in sixty-four parts, all on the subject of food. Crace's readers might learn that little is to be trusted about food from these hilarious, delightful and subversive ingredients, but they will encounter a startling and touching patchwork portrait of a community where meals are served with lashings of passion and recipes come spiced with unexpected challenges and hopes.
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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