From Publishers Weekly
Usually writers taking a holiday from their serious work will use a pseudonym (DeLillo as Cleo Birdwell), but British novelist Hamilton-Paterson (Gerontius
, etc.), who lives in Italy, bravely serves a very funny sendup of Italian-cooking-holiday-romance novels, without any camouflage. Written from the alternating perspectives of two foreigners who have bought neighboring Tuscan houses, the book has no plot to speak of beyond when-will-they-sleep-together. Gerald Samper is an effete British ghost writer of sportsperson biographies (such as skier Per Snoilsson's Downhill All the Way!
); neighbor Marta is a native Voynovian (think mountainous eastern bloc) trying to escape her rich family's descent into postcommunist criminality—by writing a film score for a "famous" pornographer's latest project. Each downs copious amounts of the title swill and carps at the reader about the other's infuriating ways: Gerald sings to himself in a manner that Marta then parodies for the film; Gerald relentlessly dissects the Voyde cuisine Marta serves him, all the while sharing recipes for his own hilariously absurd cuisine. Rock stars, helicopters, the porn director and son, and Marta's mafia brother all make appearances. The fun is in Hamilton-Paterson's offhand observations and delicate touch in handling his two unreliable misfits as they find each other—and there's lots of it. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an alternate
"'Wickedly witty... Anyone who does not add this hilarious divertimento to their summer reading list should be put on a forced diet of Gerald's inimitable Alien Pie.' Michael Dibdin, Guardian; 'A deliciously nasty farce set in [Hamilton-Paterson's] adopted Tuscany... Cooking with Fernet Branca had me laughing out loud and uproariously. All Tuscanites should read it, preferably over a plate of stewed otter chunks in lobster sauce.' Sunday Telegraph; 'Larded with bitter satire and piquant wit, at the expense, often, of its readers and their dreams of Italy... I laughed out loud several times a chapter' The Times"