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True Confections: A Novel Paperback – December 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Her most recent novel, True Confections, the story of a chocolate candy factory in crisis, was published in January 2010 by Shaye Areheart Books and was published in December 2010 in paperback by Broadway Books. Critics raved: "A great American tale" (New York Times Book Review), "Marvelous, a vividly imagined story about love, obsession and betrayal" (Boston Globe), "Katharine Weber is one of the wittiest, most stimulating novelists at work today...wonderful fun and endlessly provocative" (Chicago Tribune),"Succulently inventive" (Washington Post),"Her most delectable novel yet" (L.A. Times).
Katharine's fiction debut in print, the short story "Friend of the Family," appeared in The New Yorker in January, 1993. Her first novel, Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (of which that story was a chapter), was published by Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1995 and was published in paperback by Picador in 1996. It will be published in a new paperback edition by Broadway Books in Summer, 2011.
She was named by Granta to the controversial list of 50 Best Young American Novelists in 1996.
Her second novel, The Music Lesson, was published by Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1999, and was published in paperback by Picador in 2000. The Music Lesson has been published in twelve foreign languages, and is being reissued in the U.S. by Broadway Books in January, 2011.
The Little Women was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2003 and by Picador in 2004. All three novels were named Notable Books by The New York Times Book Review.
Her fourth novel, Triangle, which takes up the notorious Triangle Waist company factory fire of 1911, was published in 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and in 2007 by Picador.
Katharine's maternal grandmother was the songwriter Kay Swift. Since Swift's death in 1993, Katharine has been a Trustee and the Administrator of the Kay Swift Memorial Trust, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the music of Kay Swift. This work includes the first Broadway musical with a score by a woman, "Fine and Dandy," and several popular show tunes of the era, among them "Fine and Dandy" and "Can't We Be Friends?" (www.kayswift.com)
Katharine is on the staff at Star, a foundation dedicated to offering personal growth retreats in the Arizona desert. (www.starfound.org)
Katharine is the Richard L. Thomas Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College, a five-year appointment to teach every spring term beginning in 2013. In the past she has taught fiction writing at Connecticut College, Yale University (for eight years), and the Paris Writers Workshop. She was the Kratz Writer in Residence at Goucher College in Spring 2006, and was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the graduate writing program in the School of the Arts at Columbia University for six years.
Katharine is married to the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber (author most recently of The Bauhaus Group), and they have two daughters.
Top Customer Reviews
Katharine Weber is an erudite but highly entertaining writer, who scatters bits of French, Latin and German (not to mention Malagasi--the language of Madagascar, as we learn) phrases through her otherwise earthy and mostly hilarious tale of four generations of the Ziplinksy family. The first-person narrator, Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky (a.k.a. Arson Girl), has a WASP family of origin but when she marries into the Zip clan, she almost immediately absorbs the high-energy, combat-ready modus operandi of her new meshpocheh.
The compelling story is told in the form of an affidavit, and it is only one of Weber's literary achievements that she grips our attention without revealing, until near the end, the reason for the affidavit. But this is no dry document--it's a rollicking tale of fascinating family dynamics and some dysfunction, as well as an apparently fact-studded tutorial on candy manufacturing.
At the outset, we have no reason to believe that Alice is telling anything other than the truth, but gradually we realize that either she is changing over the years, or she has always been a somewhat unreliable and opinionated narrator. The issue of truth is at the core of the novel, and the reader is frequently challenged to sort it out from the embellishments.Read more ›
She wants to be converted into the perfect Jewish mother and wife but to no avail. Her mother-in-law, Frieda, the most comedic character in this novel, will not give Alice a chance. One of the best scenes is Frieda's chicken soup recipe that, of course, is not the real recipe and Alice's chicken soup is a bland failure. The novel is consumed with candy making and the reader learns how this small company manufacturers three profitable products: Little Sammies, Mumbo Jumbos and Tigermelts. In addition to chocolate and sugar, the other ingredients making an impact are anti-Semitism, child slave labor on plantations, immigration, family trusts and the sweat and hard work of the American small business.
Weber provides detailed scenes of candy making, business dynamics and since Alice is the narrator, we learn about it all from her perspective. Alice attempts to give us a fair-sided view of the family. She riles on her sister-in-law. Irene, who has never worked a day in her life, but will use the family money for her misguided causes and resents Alice her percentage of the Ziplinsky Family Trust. The background of the book is Alice's affidavit of how Sam Ziplinksy's will should be interpreted.Read more ›
"True Confections" is written in the form of a deposition that Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky has to write for a court case she's involved in. Is it criminal or civil? I think it's civil, though Alice, now in her 50's, has a charge of arson in her past. "It was an accident. I didn't mean to burn my friend's house down with a water gun filled with charcoal fuel!", she writes, referring to an event that changed her life, putting off college, and going to work at a candy company in New Haven, CT. She takes to the making of candy like the proverbial duck to the proverbial water. She marries at age 18 the son of the owner of the family-held candy company - Howard Ziplinsky - and becomes a working partner in the company, Zip's Candies. From production to marketing, Alice tends business as she tends her two children by Howard. The company, founded in the mid-1920's by a Hungarian immigrant - is still successful, producing niche chocolate and licorice candies.
Years go by and Howard and Alice make both a family and good candy together, but Howard leaves her to live in Madagascar, which is the home of the other half of the Ziplinsky family. Alice takes full control of Zip's and things start happening under her control.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was looking for some light, fun summer reading. All I got was a boring book. Don't bother spending your money on this one.Published 6 months ago by Lulu Fishbaum
I ordered this book because I have read Katharine Weber in the past & enjoyed her writing. Actually I enjoyed this story also. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Daniel Waring
Fascinating insight into the candy business! I didn't enjoy the authors style of run on sentences. But, I think that was planned...part of the charm. Fun read!Published 20 months ago by CJ
Katharine Weber has written a fiercely fascinating novel that reads like a true story. It's all in the first person, told by Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky in the form of "a... Read morePublished on May 10, 2012 by Fairbanks Reader
It seemed like an interesting idea, but it doesn't deliver as unfortunately it reads like a non-fiction novel which isn't true. So what's the point? Read morePublished on December 31, 2011 by James Montgomery
This is the second Katharine Weber book I've read. The first, Triangle, about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, had a similarly enticing subject. Read morePublished on August 26, 2011 by S. A. Waggoner
this book was a chocolate lovers delight.it was fun to learn about the candy business from the inside out. Read morePublished on June 24, 2011 by L.I. LINDA
This gratuitous political crap hurts you, authors. Another recent book, another author with a left wing axe to grind that ruins the book. Read morePublished on June 15, 2011 by carolina38
When I began this book, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. But it has to be one of the most unique and clever books I have read in a long time. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by Book Ninja