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Liquor: A Novel (Rickey and G-Man Series) Paperback – March 16, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
As much a love letter to the Big Easy as it is to the demanding (and sometimes debauched) lifestyle of a chef, horror maven Brite's (Lost Souls) first foray into the trendy genre of foodie lit is a winsome entree. New Orleans natives and lovers John Rickey and Gary "G-man" Stubbs, affable characters from Brite's recent coming-of-age/coming-out tale The Value of X, decide to capitalize on Rickey's brainchild of opening a restaurant with a "whole menu based on liquor." Word passes through the gossipy Nola restaurant scene that two up-and-comers have a hot concept but no money, and soon enough, Rickey and G-man find themselves backed by celebrity chef Lenny Duveteaux, known as "the Nixon of the New Orleans restaurant world" for his habit of taping his phone conversations. At first doubtful of Lenny's motives, the two come to regard him as a mentor even as they question some of his choices. In one of the many conflicts that Brite embroils her main characters (all of which are fun but not too convincing), the yats (colloquial for natives) have to fend off increasingly threatening actions from Rickey's former boss, cokehead Mike Mouton, while experimenting with dishes like white rumlaced fettuccine Alfredo and veal kidneys à la liégeoise. Although Brite rolls her eyes aplenty at the silly dramas and pretensions inherent in any urban restaurant scene, her affection for it is heartfelt. The plot is pretty boilerplate, but Brite's characters are as refreshingly unpretentious as a healthy helping of comfort food.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cult horror novelist Brite's new book offers quite a change of pace: a fictional foray into the wild and highly competitive foodie scene in New Orleans. The plot centers on two brilliant but underappreciated line chefs who come up with a new concept--a first-class dining establishment where the entire menu comprises dishes prepared with alcohol in one form or another, from whiskey to exotic liqueurs. This is a high-energy tale of restaurant intrigue, but there are also plenty of straightforward, realistic scenes depicting the lives of the small army of people who manage to create exotic meals that seem to materialize effortlessly at one's table. Brite serves up course after course of culinary passion and politics, sauteed in humor and garnished with the history of the Big Easy. Like Timothy Taylor's Stanley Park (2002), it will be an eye-opener for anyone who has never seen what really goes on behind the scenes in a fine-dining kitchen. So kick back, put on a zydeco CD, and dig in. Elliott Swanson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Rare is the writer (or med. rare) who risks showing how get-down, wk'ng class folk really talk and how raw and straight and direct they are--the opposite of many upper crust phony-baloney jerks I've known and worked with, and I have know the high and mighty and the "low" and humble, and unless you folks who read this have any doubt, the low and humble are ten trillion times more worthy to hang with St. Peter than some U.S. Senators I've known who shall remain nameless and officially blameless, cuz I ain't got enough money to hire an attorney. I'll take a "neegro" waxing poetic on a rake than hearing the empty words of a slimey, reptilian Senator.
One of her greatest talents is her beautiful phraseology, and her brutally honest portrayal of the most acrid and wonderful aromas of New Orleans and its acrid and sweat-stained working people. This little mighty-might of an author is defiantly in the face of the untrue corners of our human folly.
Buy this book. Buy this book. Buy this book. What are you waiting for. It's one of the few pieces of modern fiction worth a tinker's dam. Get a free sample, and you'll be hooked from page one. Have you charged it yet? Fire Poppy's puppy up on yo' Kindle and laugh and cry in the same sentence. I know Tenn. Wms. work, and I worked with him for a brief time (that dates me). She's in the same league as him as regards her ability to make you laugh your tail off one moment then cry your eyes out the next. I kid you not.
Oh, my dears, please buy this book. Write me if you wish. I will try and explain why the paltry few bucks she wants for it is priced criminally low.
I hope that was the sweet sound'a yo' wallet openin' I juss hoid, or are you juss glad to see me.
The author nailed a lot about New Orleans....especially the accents. A lot of the places and local culture were well described too. But when I drove past the restaurant site on Toulouse/Broad and Rickey/G Man's place on Marengo near Tchoupitoulas, neither bore much resemblance to the places described in the book. I know this is fiction, but with all the other local things handled so well, I found that a bit disappointing.
The author did what I imagine was a very good job of describing kitchen life in restaurants. Not glamorous at all except when a chef goes big time. And even then, I am sure it can be difficult. Truly either a labor of love or just a tough way to make a living.
The story of Rickey and G Man is a good one. Not great literature, but definitely a good read. It would almost certainly help, though, for the reader to be interested in food and probably in New Orleans as well.
Mostly I loved the treatment of Rickey and G-Man. I look hard to find books that have strong gay characters, but stories that are about something else. I know what it is like to be gay. I don't need anyone to explain it. I want to hear well told stories about people I can relate to