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At the age of 30, Tess has had three jobs and three significant relationships with two men and one woman – each lasting three years. Drifting through life, confused about her sexuality, Tess decides to live a life of celibacy and to open up a restaurant devoted to soup. Tess has a talent for making soups with strong medicinal and spiritual qualities – something passed down from her great-great grandmother, a descendant of one of the Salem witches. In the second week of the restaurant’s opening, an elderly professor of English, Roger Beanstock, comes in at closing time. Beany, haunted by his own past has lived a celibate life devoted to his work. He visits the restaurant every Thursday night for the next year to share soup and wine with Tess, which she calls the Year of Soup, before taking his life. Shortly after Beany’s death, Tess meets Jim at the restaurant, a furniture maker with his own reasons for keeping to himself. It is through a series of letters that Beany has left for Tess that she learns the truth about the Professor, is able to come to terms with her own sexuality, and discover Jim’s own tragic secret that will change both of their lives.
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The Year of Soup is Howard Reiss' second novel inspired during a dinner at a small restaurant in Northhampton, Mass. when an old professorial looking gentlemen with a bottle of wine in a paper bag sat down at a table in the corner and was immediately joined by the young, female proprietor and chef. Although he couldn't hear their conversation, he tried to imagine it and their stories as well. Howard Reiss' first novel, A Family Institution, published in 2011, was based on a true incident involving the discovery of an aunt he didn't know existed who spent most of her life in Pilgrim State Hospital. The main character's quest for the truth about his family takes him to Pilgrim State where he takes a job in the records department, learns a lot about how the mentally ill and, in particular, his aunt was treated in the 1950s, and in the process turns his life and family upside down. It's a serious subject approached with a strong comic touch and has been a growing favorite of book clubs around the country. Howard Reiss is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia Law School and the father of two girls. He helped found a soup kitchen in Nyack, New York where he lives and runs, supports book publishers by buying more books than he can possibly find the time to read, and is somewhere north of 50.Review:
"The Year of Soup, as with his first novel A Family Institution, clearly establishes Howard Reiss' credentials as an especially gifted storyteller with a knack for creating fully developed characters and original storylines that engage the reader's complete attention from first page to last. The Year of Soup is highly recommended and thoroughly entertaining, making it an appropriate addition for community library contemporary fiction collections."
-The Midwest Book Review
"The Year of Soup mixes a fine stew of intelligence and wisdom, while also at times stirring in a sharp wit and a pinch of genuine, heartfelt charm and humanity."-IndieReader and IndieReader Approved
Readers' Favorite gives The Year of Soup 5 stars!
Readers' Favorite calls The Year of Soup "a wonderfullyinsightful read" and recommends it to "anyone who loves mysteries, emotionalfiction, and self-discovery." "Howard Reiss is able to deftly weavestory into sustenance and create a plot that is beautifully original withoutstraying too far from classic themes of this sort of genre." The Year of Soup"is a hands-down, great read."
BookBub calls The Year of Soup "a heartwarming read."
The Year of Soup won a silver medal for Best Regional Fiction in the North-East region in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards.
The Year of Soup won the honorable mention in the Romance Category of the 2016 Los Angeles Book Festival.
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Book Description Krance Publishing, 2012. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 296 pages. 8.50x0.67x5.50 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk0615725457
Book Description Krance Publishing, 2012. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0615725457