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A Feast of Words: For Lovers of Food and Fiction Hardcover – September 17, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Shapiro melds the art of literature with the craft of cuisine, pairing inventive menus with passages from treasured fiction. Barbara Pym, Charles Dickens, Colette, Doris Lessing, and Thomas Hardy--these and countless other writers knew just how effective it could be to interject descriptions of food or meals partaken in order to move a story along or depict stirring emotional quandaries. "Starved Love," "Penitential Meals," and "Eating the Social Index" are a few of the categories Shapiro assembles, designating various perspectives found in classic novels spanning Anna Karenina to Marjorie Morningstar. The recipes are straightforward, easy to follow, and perhaps most intriguing for their literary connotations. Alice Joyce


This Feast is a literary equivalent of a tasting menu: an elaborately staged succession of signature dishes served in tantalizing bites so as not to exhaust the palate. Here, the master chefs are 20 or so of the world's greatest writers. Novelist Shapiro has culled choice morsels from their work . . . This is a book that leaves us with an appetite for novels we want to read and reread--and for meals we want to cook. A Feast of Words is haute cuisine for the body and the spirit. --Francine Prose, People magazine

If you're reading this, odds are you agree with Anna Shapiro that books are the staff of life. "A Feast of Words" is not an ordinary cookbook, or even primarily a cookbook. It is a banquet for the soul, cooked with imagination and served with style by a writer who knows that fiction, like food, is not merely necessary to life, but the essence of life. --Ellen Feldman, Newsday

The passages [of literature] are, for the most part, delightful, whether the pieces were old familiar parts of long-loved stories or little appetizers of works one hasn't met before.
And while I'll never attempt to make persimmon pudding or parsnips with pomegranate seeds . . . how does honey and orange bread sound to you? --Catherine Foster, American Reporter

Anna Shapiro loves food and knows literature, and in this charming volume . . . she is a fine critic and an especially fine summarizer and condenser of character and plot. She has lovingly chosen and carefully provided readers with great chunks of the actual text, in several instances complete scenes and stories. --The Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition (stated) edition (September 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039303979X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393039795
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,520,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anna Shapiro was born in Rome, Italy, to New York artists and writers involved in leftist politics, and grew up on Long Island and in Vermont. After stints in art schools and an involvement in the early Conceptual scene, she started writing, receiving a prize that included fully paid tuition to the Columbia University masters program in fiction. For a long period she was a regular book reviewer for The New Yorker, and she has written about books for The New York Times, The Guardian (England), The Nation, and many other journals as well, and also published editorials. Her one volume of nonfiction is a collection of essays about fiction (Proust, Mann, Tolstoy) in which food is pivotal to the plot or as a central metaphor. Her novels concern the loves and aspirations of artists and musicians in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KrsTea on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who doesn't love a good cookbook? Now with this you can enjoy your favorite books in a whole new way. I love it!
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