Item description for Miss Alice Merriwether's Long Lost Cakes & Further Arcane Inducements to Wonder by Barry Aitchison...
One Sunday evening, the town of Parcival, USA disappeared. It was Tuesday morning before anyone in the outside world noticed it was gone ... There was something decidedly odd about Quentin C. Coriander. For one thing, no one in Parcival could ever remember seeing him arrive. One day the house was empty, bare as winter trees. Next, there was Quentin on the porch, reading the Parcival Post or doing the crossword. From then on it was usual for townsfolk to nod at Quentin as they passed and to receive a cursory nod in return. It never evolved beyond that. Quentin never encouraged conversation. No one in Parcival much bothered to keep an eye on Quentin. What they didn't know was that he always had his eye on them...
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date May 30, 2006
Publisher Velluminous Press
ISBN 1905605056 ISBN13 9781905605057
Reviews - What do customers think about Miss Alice Merriwether's Long Lost Cakes & Further Arcane Inducements to Wonder?
Barry Aitchison has started his literary career with a BANG! Expertly woven tale ... Nov 26, 2006
Barry Aitchison's debut novel is an amazing book, containing all the elements that make best-sellers: originality, suspense, mystery and humor, wiith a background love story between a pair of average, small-town characters that seem made for each other ... until a mysterious stranger, Quentin C. Coriander, sneaks onto the scene.
The story is set in a small, unremarkable Midwestern town with the unlikely name of Parcival. Odd things begin happening when Coriander arrives, but he minds his own business and remains remote from the citizens ... until Miss Alice Merriwether, the town's favorite spinster, sets her "baker's cap" for him. She woos him with her delicious, famous cakes, and ... OOPS ... Gotta stop there; don't want to give too much of the story away.
The unique story is filled with delightful characters that readers can relate to, characters we will remember long after reading the book. Aitchison has a wonderful way with words and a sly, subltle sense of humor that's a real gift. And he takes his readers on such a tortuous ride we can never guess what's going to happen next.
MISS ALICE MERRIWETHER'S LONG LOST CAKES is an easy-to-follow, well-written story; so reader-friendly, the author makes it look easy. His characters are described so well, they came alive for me. And the ending is a real stunner, a satisfying ending that leaves the door open for a sequel. As for me, I'm screaming for a sequel; can't wait to find out what happens next to these intriguing characters.
With this creative piece of literature, this gifted author has started his career with a bang! This is an "unputdownable" page-turner, so be prepared to lose some sleep. Congratulations, Mr. Aitchison.
(Before buying this book, I read his three short stories on this site Shorts, and they're real masterpieces too.)
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A captivating mystery with equal moments of serious contemplation and lighthearted fun. Nov 5, 2006
Written by Barry Aitchison, Miss Alice Merriwether's Long Lost Cakes & Further Inducements to Wonder is a most unusual and fantastic novel about a small, close-knit American town, the inhabitants of which are about to have their lives transformed forever. No one in the town can remember when Quentin Coriander first arrived, and he is not one to engage in excessive conversation. Yet while no one pays much attention to Quentin, he is always watching them - aware of not only their troubles and misfortunes, but also of possibilities beyond the townspeople's comprehension. When inexplicable events begin to occur, and troubled townspeople disappear, some accuse Quentin of murder; only a few suspect the truth might not be that simple. A captivating mystery with equal moments of serious contemplation and lighthearted fun.
Great reading! Aug 20, 2006
Loved it! The characters reminded me uncannily of many people I have known with all their particular foibles and constantly had me chuckling to myself as the characters reacted to the strange situation they found themselves in. An interesting insight into human nature but always with its own inimitable quirky brand of humour.
I have seen it compared for its superb satire to Orwell's Animal Farm and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. It is many years since I read Animal Farm but it does have elements of that satirical bent and commentary on human nature. Unfortunately I have never read The Great Divorce but as a result of reading Alice Merriwether it's now on my "to do" list! At times it had me also thinking of The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy but I must admit it's also a long time since I read that - time to go back and re-read it to see how right I was.........
If you have a sense of humour do your yourself a favour and read this book. I'm sure you'll love it!
Something Different Aug 5, 2006
I've only read the first chapter of this book, but it is fantastic, like nothing you've read before. The style is simple, yet almost fractal in its fatness. It swerves into your soul and pinches you on the medulla. BUY this book, and tell your friends to buy it, if they want to read something entirely different.
An Inducement to Wonder Jul 2, 2006
I just spent three days reading this book, and it's unlike anything I've ever read -- yet it has elements of some of the greatest works of literary fiction ever.
It is a wonderful mix of childlike joy and wonder with adult humor and satire -- "gentle satire", the author says in his review here, and I would say that's absolutely correct.
It opens with a dizzying array of characters. The chapters are short, bulleted to give you just that little tantalizing bit to keep you hanging, the way Miss Alice's cakes so tantalize and mesmerize the denizens of Parcivel. It has great suspense -- you don't know till the very end why Quentin Coriander has come to Parcival or what he represents. Just as you start to think you are getting it figured out there is another plot twist, another new character, to nudge you out of your comfort zone, so that you never know entirely where you are being taken, only that you enjoy the ride.
There is a ton that is fun in this book -- the midwest stereotypes, intentional overblown characters and exaggerations that hallmark good satire, and even the character names --"Justin Case", Stephen a.k.a. Jelly Bean, and characters named for foodstuffs and spices (Pumpernickel, Coriander.) There are also some recipes that I'm going to want to try. But by the time you reach the end you realize that there is a method to the madness. There is in fact, like with all good literary fiction, a message in this work that is hopeful, uplifitng and connective in the sense of agelessness. Once you reach the end, it all comes together, the way an entire town that once went lost, returns, and you recognize, clearly, that you have been deftly handled.
All in all this is a wonderful, imaginative work that tells a lot about the recipe for life's success, and makes you love every bit --and bite -- of the tale. Highly recommended.