Cuisine Novella

Antione Laurent, Author, Antoine Laurent, Author Viking Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-81328-5
This unusual first novel offers a romp through the pleasures of metafiction by discussing storytelling in terms of the arts of the kitchen. Annabelle, a pretty young dress designer, meets the flamboyant Marquis in a Parisian cafe. Disappointed with a badly wrought dish of champignons a la provencale, Annabelle lets the Marquis entice her to his house in Provence, La Fantaisie, to initiate her in the culinary arts. Lessons begin on the railway journey, which occupies nearly the entire novel. The train's ""enchanted compartments'' open like little theaters or bazaar booths onto fresh stories, as the talk of concocting applies equally to literature and food. Annabelle and the Marquis suffer temporary hallucinations, seeming to turn into the mushrooms, garlic and oil required by the curriculum. Later these ingredients acquire powerful human essences in the culinary process. The novel's envelope structure encloses tales of Egyptian mummies, a Russian tiger lady, a dwarf and Annabelle's own created story of the couture world. Since Annabelle and the Marquis each are gay, romance between them isn't likely, but both become ensnared by their shared infatuation with art. The novel sometimes errs on the side of a baroque long-windedness, but aficionados of the craft of fiction will appreciate its witticism. (September 14)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Genre: Fiction
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