Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Debt to Pleasure: A Novel Paperback – December 7, 2001
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Over the years, many people have pleaded with me to commit to paper my thoughts on the subject of food. Indeed the words 'Why don't you write a book about it?,' uttered in an admittedly wide variety of tones and inflections, have come to possess something of the quality of a mantra--one tending to be provoked by a disquisition of mine on, for instance, the composition of an authoritative cassoulet, or Victorian techniques for baking hedgehogs in clay.
These reflections, structured around specific menus, and presented over the course of a travelogue, are fascinating, as they veer off onto obscure tangents, and slyly funny, as Winot completely dominates the book with his distinctive voice and maddeningly egotistical monologues. But the reader quickly comes to distrust him and eventually to suspect his motives. He is after all traveling in disguise, seems to be following a young couple, and reveals the unfortunate ends met by his brother, a famous artist, and several others over the course of his life. These facts, combined with the elitist morality he espouses, raise some uncomfortable questions about what exactly Mr. Winot is up to here.
Unlike Pale Fire or Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis, in the end there's not much doubt left about the central events of the novel. Mr. Lanchester is less interested in preserving the mystery than in the hugely entertaining character he's created. Tarquin Winot, even if he is a sociopath, is a very amusing one. And Mr Lanchester has rare common sense enough to keep the book brief, ending the "gastro-historico-psycho-autobiographico-anthropico-philosophic lucubrations" before Winot's act grows tiresome.
If you always knew the Frugal Gourmet had something to hide. If Martha Stewart's icy WASP demeanor has always seemed like a front to you. Read The Debt to Pleasure and in its deliciously insidious pages have your worst fears confirmed, about the hideous evil that lurks behind these facades of condescending homemaking competence.
GRADE : A-
Part travelogue, part diary, part recipe book... wholly entertaining. All that and elements of a whodunnit turned on its head make this one of the most interesting books you'll read for a long time.
What starts off, apparently, as the snobbish diary of a nobody becomes compelling very quickly in ways the reader certainly doesn't expect. The dark humour is perfectly observed and often laugh-out-loud funny; the meticulously-concocted (and utterly convincing) recipes make for mouth-watering platforms of action and opinionated soap-boxing by the main character; the hints at a murky past leave you curious to find out just what is going on as Tarquin Winot travels south on what appears to be some sort of quest; the plot drives forward through unconventional means until you're utterly engaged by the insane thoughts of one of modern fiction's most devilishly intriguing creations.
The Debt To Pleasure is not a conventional novel. The narrative does not develop along conventional lines. The fascination is not always for what happens next but rather for what is going on in Tarquin Winot's mind, and how to unravel his deluded understanding of his past, his relationship to those around him and his philosophy of life from what might, by the rest of us, be called 'the truth'. The story is written in the first-person, and that person is clearly bonkers.
An easy read, it works on many levels, entertaining, enthralling and inviting us into the mind of a man who can't distinguish invention from reality, or even right from wrong. The past, desires, hatred, envy, unfulfilled ambition, sibling rivalry and the amorality of a psychopath are used like ingredients in a dish that leaves you with a very satisfying aftertaste.