qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

The Good Life

Book Review: Cooking with Fernet Branca, by James Hamilton-Paterson
I decided to give this a re-read in preparation for reading its sequel. It turns out that enough time has passed for the details to be fresh once again. Fortunately, it also turns out that I found it as enjoyable and laugh-out-loud as on its first reading. I particularly like the way the narration switches between Gerald, the ex-pat ghost writer ensconced in his Tuscan idyll, and Marta, his neighbour and east European composer (like St George's Island, it's a bit difficult to just point on a map and say "There it is - Voynovia!"). Invariably an incident seems perfectly reasonable from one point of view, and utterly absurd from the other. Despite all the shonka, kasha, and galasiya, when Marta shouts "Gerree!", the voice I hear is not East European, but that of a certain Mrs Leadbetter from Surbiton. But Gerry gives at least as good as he gets, in culinary and other matters. Although most of his recipes are plainly unpalatable, I suspect with one or two tweaks the Alien Pie might be worth a try. In due course these two characters subconsciously arrive at an accommodation of sorts, through a series of farcical episodes featuring famous film directors, boy bands, UFOs and Mafia connections.
Tags: books, satire
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