Synopses & Reviews
"The unnamed heroine of Spiller's debut is an L.A. epicurean who's made a career writing about her perfect dinner parties. The only problem? She hasn't thrown one in years in fact, she dislikes socializing at all. But when a well-placed magazine editor asks for an invite, our heroine is forced to reproduce her fantasy life for a do-or-die dinner. What looks at first like a three-act rom-com spends hundreds of pages spinning its wheels, the paralyzed narrator pinging between food trivia and recollections of a neglectful, withholding mother. As promised, the novel contains recipes, but most are unexecutable and only some relevant. Aside from epicurean concerns, the heroine's focus sticks mainly to the flaws in her surroundings; there's no learning or growing, just a litany of worries over the coming party, lots of blame-throwing and unhappiness. Despite Spiller's clever way with words, her reach falls short of social satire, resulting in a static character study of a whining foodie." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Entertaining Disasters] is an extended brood on food, love, family, and the exhausting rat race of L.A. . . . it offers sharp, startling observations in a unique and very human voice." Elle
"This zany novel (with recipes) will make you appreciate your own fallen souffles that much more." Redbook
"With deftness and wit, Nancy Spiller delivers needle-sharp insights into middle-class life and marriage, while portraying the dissolution of a family and the rise of longing for a culinary salvation." Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
"Cooking, we begin to see, allows FW to do what her family could notmeld warring ingredients into a harmonious whole. The looming dinner party is her bid for psychic as well as social redemption . . . Entertaining Disasters offers memoir's most potent pairing: the child's eye, sensual and vindictive, with the grown-up's aching heart . . . it's a testament to Spiller's skill as a narrator that tragedy and comedy begin to seem like a natural couple and that feeding a gathering of friends is the ultimate modern ordeal." Ariel Swartley, Los Angeles Magazine
In print, FW, the unnamed freelance Food Writer of Nancy Spillers sardonic debut novel, Entertaining Disasters,
lives high on the food chain in the heady realm of L.A.s culinary journalism scene. She waxes poetic about her hip home gatherings, thinly veiling the identities of her Hollywood guest list. But in reality, FWs been inventing the dinner parties she writes about because social paralysis sets in at the very thought of a real guest in her fabulousor is it shabby?hillside home. Enter the glossy food magazine editor, new in town, who wants an invitation to one of her bashes, and the panic-stricken journey from fantasy hostess to reality bites is on.
Entertaining Disastersat turns whimsical and deeply affectingchronicles the struggle FW faces in the week before she hosts her first real dinner party in ages. At the same time, her estranged sister threatens to drop by, her husband takes off, and her house implodes. In the way of Nora Ephrons Heartburn, Spillers book is filled with the fabulous culinary lore and delicious-sounding recipes that have made FWs writing such popular foodie mania. Now all she has to do is somehow bring this fantasy world into workaday reality.