Soup of the Day

Frances Starn, Author Delta $8.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-30028-5
Shrewd observations on the absurdities of modern society, characters who are what they eat, and droll chapter headings combine for an appetizing first novel. Professor Peter Clelland, who has left his wife, Romana, for a younger woman, is publicly challenged by a former student about the accuracy of his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of an English feminist. Meanwhile Romana cooks at a community soup kitchen, musing that she lives in a ``terrible time, when intelligent people think of nothing but what they can have on their plates.'' Spicy supporting characters include a food writer whose hobby is analyzing the other characters, and a therapist who finds that the amateur's assessments are irritatingly similar to her own. Will Peter salvage his reputation? Can a woman who nibbles gulf shrimp sorbet find happiness with a man who eats squished doughnuts and Chinese takeout? Starn resolves all in a gleefully contrived conclusion, complete with last-minute revelations. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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