Synopses & Reviews
Set against the backdrop of the Enlightenment, the delectable decadence of Versailles, and the French Revolution, The Last Banquet
is an intimate epic that tells the story of one mans quest to know the world through its many and marvelous flavors. Jean-Marie dAumout will try anything once, with consequences that are at times mouthwatering and at others fascinatingly macabre (Three Snake Bouillabaisse anyone? Or perhaps some pickled Wolf's Heart?). When he is not obsessively searching for a new taste dAumout is a fast friend, a loving husband, a doting father, and an imaginative lover. He befriends Ben Franklin, corresponds with the Marquis de Sade and Voltaire, becomes a favorite at Versailles, thwarts a peasant uprising, improves upon traditional French methods of contraception, plays an instrumental role in the Corsican War of Independence, and constructs Frances finest menagerie. But dAumouts every adventurous turn is decided by his at times dark obsession to know all the worlds flavors before that world changes irreversibly.
As gripping as Patrick Suskinds Perfume, as gloriously ambitious as Daniel Kehlmans Measuring the World, and as prize-worthy as Andrew Millers Pure, The Last Banquet is a hugely appealing novel about food and flavor, about the Age of Reason and the ages of man, and our obsessions and about how, if we manage to survive them, they can bequeath us wisdom and consolation in old age.
"This rollicking historical adventure sweeps us from beetle-eating rural poverty to the overripe decadence of Versailles via a sojourn in a Corsican jail, and climaxes at the moment of the French Revolution itself. Its a gripping, bawdy, gluttonous tale punctuated by recipes cooked by our hero, ranging from Three Snake Bouillabaisse to Wolf's Heart Pickle. Grimwood is brilliant at conjuring the smells, tastes and sensations of this most colourful historical period. I think readers are going to want to devour this novel as greedily as I did."
—Francis Bickmore, Editorial Director, Canongate Books
“Wonderfully enjoyable. Grimwood captures the colour, the decadence and tawdry glamour of Versailles beautifully. I loved the complexity of the relationships, and the sensual quality reminded me at times of Angela Carter. Masterful.”
— Carol Birch, author of the Booker shortlisted JAMRACHS MENAGERIE
“Grimwood is a name to watch.”— The Times
Like Patrick Süskind's murderous Grenouille in Perfume
, [Jean-Marie d'Aumout's] supersensitivity to taste, it is intimated, is to be theme, motive, ornament and philosophical disquisition in a life that spans the turbulent century leading up to the French revolution...There is much to enjoy in this book: it is racily picaresque, energetic and clever. History is deftly and diligently interposed with the details of a life, while Jean-Marie's character is carefully elaborated so as to illustrate the various aspects of a vivid era: pre-revolutionary France, with its philosophers and gourmets and interestingly depraved nobility."—The Guardian
“The Last Banquet is an astonishing, sensual feast...Grimwood is a damned fine writer.”
“A colorful life, brilliantly imagined . . . Romance and adventure drip off every page.”—The Times (London)
“I loved it. The Last Banquet is a feast for the senses.”—Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You
“Mr. Grimwood has written a truly exceptional book . . . [The Last Banquet is] simple and complex, instantly comprehensible and infinitely layered. Filthy and beautiful, provocative and sensitive, this is one for the ages.”—Porno Kitsch
“Brilliantly evocative . . . A cross between Patrick Süskind and Angela Carter.”
—The Irish Times
“A sensuous tale of one mans search for the perfect taste . . . 100% original.”
—Sam Baker, Harpers Bazaar
“A world you completely lose yourself in . . . French Gatsby territory! Opulent, sensuous, sumptuous.”—BBC Radio 2
“The Last Banquet is a tantalizing tale.”—The Bookseller
“Wonderfully enjoyable. Grimwood captures the colour, the decadence and tawdry glamour of Versailles perfectly… The sensual quality reminded me at times of Angela Carter. Masterful.”
- Carol Birch, author of the Booker Prize-shortlisted Jamrachs Menagerie
About the Author
Jonathan Grimwood was born in Malta and grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. He has written for many newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent. Writing under the name Jon Courtenay Grimwood, he has won the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel twice, and his work has been published in over fifteen languages. He divides his time between London and Winchester.