The Florentine Papers

Thom Palmer, Author Peregrine Smith Books $17.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-87905-364-2
With a connoisseur's attention to the delights of food and love, Palmer handles language in his first novel the way a gourmet cook uses ingredients in an inspired recipe. His unnamed narrator is a struggling poet who earns his living selling crab and bay shrimp to tourists in San Francisco. On the wharf he meets the misnamed Maria Perpetua, a mercurial woman who becomes his romantic obsession and inspires his broad philosophical considerations of the nature of ``Absolute Moments'' and, of course, love. He forgets his casual lover, Yvette, who eventually suffers a tragic end in a brothel. Maria, seen as unable to love those around her--including her artist mother and her former roommate and sometime lesbian lover Violet--does love food; cooking is her lovemaking. She persuades the poet to give his kitchen over to culinary experimentation and help her finish her great book on the pleasures of spinach, Spinacea Oleracea. Palmer eloquently captures the faulty dynamic of imbalanced relationships and misguided affections. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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