The Lost Art of Mixing

Erica Bauermeister. Putnam, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16211-4
In her sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, Bauermeister picks up the threads of many of the characters first brought together in Lillian’s cooking classes, adding a few new stories to the mix. Here we follow Al, the restaurant’s accountant, soothed by numbers and flavors but unable to connect with Louise, his wife of 29 years; Chloe, the young sous-chef made timid by a failed relationship; Isabelle, the elderly woman with whom Chloe lives, struggling against the onset of Alzheimer’s; and Finnegan, the impossibly tall dishwasher taking his first stab at independence. Lillian remains a sort of mythic background figure, although her unexpected pregnancy tests her and the touchy relationship she’s having with Tom, a widower. Bauermeister weaves these individual stories in and among one another, but never stays with one character long enough for the reader to grow very attached, robbing each of depth. Still, Bauermeister’s prose is strong, particularly when it comes to food, and her novel brings to life the adage “be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/24/2013
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36336-5
Hardcover - 329 pages - 978-1-4104-5776-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-60918-7
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-425-26503-1
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