Synopses & Reviews
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.
"These fables are five-finger exercises simple, enjoyable." Publishers Weekly
"One of the brightest lights in contemporary British fiction." Charles Johnson, The New York Times Book Review
"Crace is adept at creating unexpected worlds. In this tasty little collection, he has created many 64, to be exact. From the grandmother who tears off a bit of dough 'for the angel' to the adventurers who risk a tiresome, slightly surreal hike to dine at an inexplicably famous restaurant to the manager who devises an ultimately self-defeating means of keeping his waiters from sampling what they are serving. Crace's tales all concern the relationship between people and food. Quirky, unsettling, and sometimes slightly macabre...they are little scenes that capture the oddness of being human from a particular angle." Library Journal
"While recalling Donald Barthelme's 40 Stories, the fictions also borrow from Primo Levi's The Periodic Table and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, though their fragmentary range, and mischievous, smirking delights, are characteristically Crace's....Disquieting yet somehow affirming, this is poetic manna for the imaginative soul, and if not from heaven, then from an even more tempting, voluptuous recess." David Vincent, The Guardian
"[T]he book's revelation is a truth each of us lives and repeats every day of our lives: food is the one thing we both take for granted and exalt." Booklist
“Even by Craces standards, The Devils Larder
is an extraordinary book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The breadth and range of [Craces] inventiveness is astonishing.” —Chicago Tribune
“The writing is serenely, Nabokovianly accomplished; the imaginative range deeply impressive.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Crace creates in The Devils Larder an indelible sense of a living world, in which human culture is woven to its nonhuman surroundings through the strands of biological destiny and the texture of language itself.” —Boston Sunday Globe
“Cruel, lovely, full of passion and decay....With The Devils Larder, Crace has created a work where prose passes into poetry and back into prose, literature as both particle and wave.” —The Seattle Times
About the Author
Jim Crace is the author, most recently, of Quarantine, which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, and Being Dead, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. He lives in Birmingham, England.