The Mad Feast

Matthew Gavin Frank. Norton/Liveright, $35 (448p) ISBN 978-1-63149-073-6
Wearing his poetry M.F.A. and a passion for food on his sleeve, Frank (Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer), a creative writing instructor, takes the reader on an overwhelming whirlwind tour of America, whipping up a free-verse food essay for each of the 50 states. Each piece includes a recipe for a signature dish, a rambling history, and a rushing river of imagery and second-person perspective. In Arkansas, he creates beaver tail bouillon and writes from the point of view of a beaver: “You wonder if, after eating your own tail, their hearts fall to the middles of their bodies.” In Ohio, Cincinnati, chili is the key ingredient in Gold Star mini meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato icing. Frank considers the state’s importance in regard to heirloom tomatoes, and feels compelled to opine, “Ohio: just another state that begins with a cry of surprise, or pain.” The New York bagel, ripe with potential metaphor, never stands a chance. It is called everything from “an eye swollen shut,” to “Homer and Aristotle finally compromising on the shape of the earth.” Frank’s feast isn’t so much mad as madcap, trying to do too many things at once. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-63149-074-3
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