cover image Sweet


Alysia Constantine. Interlude (, $16.99 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-941530-61-0

The narrator of Constantine’s debut—who’s flirtatious, candid, and more than a little word-drunk—spins ethereal candy floss that is all romance, endlessly surprising, and nothing like any genre offering this season. Jules Burns is a New York City baker, just emerging from mourning for his husband, and his decadent confections receive the book’s most explicit prose. Sweetly melancholy Teddy Flores is fading into his accounting job until a stranger yanks him into Jules’s bakery. ’Trice, the bakery’s uncannily perspicacious barista, ministers to Teddy with a cupcake and immediately begins to matchmake between Teddy and Jules. The knowingly Dickensian narrator stage manages throughout, assessing developments, taking the reader to task for wanting to “skip ahead to the good part,” and delivering insights of aching beauty on page after page. A touch of the metaphysical sits a little restlessly next to the Internet flirtations and kitchen seductions, but this remains a dessert that’s well worth skipping dinner for. (Feb.)