A Place at the Table

Susan Rebecca White. Touchstone, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4516-0887-8
In this latest from an emerging Southern literary voice, White (A Soft Place to Land) muses on friendship, the connecting power of food, and the effects of a Southern heritage on one's search for identity. The tale begins with Alice Stone and her brother James, a close-knit pair growing up in 1920's Negro-owned Emancipation Township, North Carolina. James is sent to New York because of his "uppity" attitude, and the book's focus abruptly shifts to Bobby, a white boy from a strict religious family in 1970's Georgia. His later career as a chef in a famous New York restaurant is foreshadowed in his love for cooking with his mother and grandmother, whose pound cakes are legendary. The savings from thousands of sold pound cakes fund Bobby's escape to New York when his family ostracizes him for being gay. Here he meets renowned chef and cookbook author, Alice Stone. However, their stories don't truly intersect until Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman in a failing marriage, happens upon the scene. Once again, food, prospective cookbooks, and Southern influences link characters before they discover a deeper connection through guarded secrets from the past. White's prose is graceful and evocative, but the plot stumbles as the disparate characters' trajectories become muddled in each other's stories. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 314 pages - 978-1-4516-0889-2
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4516-0894-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-6300-7
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