Item description for Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson...
Cooking with Fernet Branca is a comic bad dream of modern Italy. Gerald Samper lives on a hilltop in Tuscany. An effete and snobbish Englishman working as a ghostwriter for celebrities, he would prefer to be remembered as a gourmet. His recipes include 'Mussels in Chocolate', 'Garlic and Fernet Branca Ice Cream', and a dish containing pureed prunes, rhubarb, and smoked cat (off the bone). Reluctantly, Gerald shares his hillside with Marta. As far as he can see, she is a vulgar woman from a crime-ridden former Soviet republic. She is also a composer in the neo-folk style who is writing a score for a glamorous Italian film director - though Gerald can't believe it. The mutual misunderstandings of these two exiles, each in search of a crowning success in the sunlight of Tuscany, get ever more dangerous. To the music of black helicopters and bad opera, and oiled by large quantities of the bitter aperitif Fernet Branca - all that either of them ever seems to have around the house - the lives of these two unlikely neighbours gradually and disastrously intertwine.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 7.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2005
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 193337201X ISBN13 9781933372013
Availability 4 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 01:16.
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More About James Hamilton-Paterson
James Hamilton-Paterson's first novel, Gerontius, won the Whitbread Award. He is an acclaimed author of nonfiction books, including Seven-Tenths, Three Miles Down and Playing with Water. He currently lives in Italy.
Reviews - What do customers think about Cooking with Fernet Branca?
James H-P Cooks up another winner May 9, 2007
I wish Fernat (the drink) was as enjoyable as James H-P's novels. The plot unfolds wonderfully as the narrative passes back and forth between Gerald and Marta. The recipes are as outrageous as the story line. Definately reads like a Hunter Thompson/Peter Mayle cooperative! The fun continues with the sequel: "Amazing Disgrace".
A Brilliant Waste of Time Jul 21, 2006
James Hamilton-Paterson said in an interview that he wanted to write a book that could be tossed away as soon as it was finished. His ambition has been fully realized. Read and savor this priceless novel and then throw it into the trash along with a couple empty bottles of Fernet. I don't think I've read a sillier book than this one. It raises irrelevance to an art form. More please!
Completely Hilarious Satire May 19, 2006
I don't even know how to start to praise this sly, witty, absolutely brilliant send-up of all books "Tuscany," all cookbooks ever written, all travelogues post-Pepys (and maybe even him) and modern life in general.
Here we have a disaffected Brit, self-satisfied fortyish Gerald Samper, whose job it is to ghost-write autobiographies of egregious celebrities from the sports world. Repairing to Tuscany and buying what he thinks is a secluded house, Gerald settles down to write and to pursue his two REAL avocations: cooking (and the recipes are unlike any you are ever likely to see, from smoked cat to udders with butterscotch sauce, listed with a completely straight face) and singing opera.
Into Gerald's idyll comes an unlikely neighbor: Marta, from a fictional Slavic country--she of the wiry hair dutifully brushed each night with goose grease, large peasant body and strange eastern european tastes...such as kasha dumplings the size of a small planet, washed down, of course, with the ubiquitous "Fernet Branca," rather lethal in its effect.
Marta is a composer, hired to write the score for a Fellini-like director who may or may not be creating the porn film of all time--nobody is sure.
Alternating voices, the author takes us into the decidedly strange minds of Gerald and Marta, first one and then the other, as we see events unfold from each of their points of view.
I could hardly read for laughing, there were times when I laughed until the tears came. I cannot recommend this incredibly brilliant romp highly enough. Do yourself a favor and read it while sipping some wine...and possibly dining on fresh otter. Always a treat!
A hilarious and original novel telling of a modern celebrity ghostwriter May 3, 2006
Cooking With Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson is a hilarious and original novel telling of a modern celebrity ghostwriter, Gerald Samper, and his obscure exploration of the culinary arts. Following Samper through his recent writing of a young teen idol, Cooking With Fernet Branca engages readers into the coincidental and consistent meeting of the newly arrived Marta, the runaway from an ex-soviet republic and her terrible family, and Gerald as their lives as the two protagonists progressively connect. Skillfully crafted, wryly humorous, and showcasing the author's unique wit, Cooking With Fernet Branca is very highly recommended to all readers searching for a highly intricate comedy and entirely random collection of some of the most unpleasant foods and culinary ideas yet to have been included in literature.
Most hilarious, gorgeously written book I have ever read Feb 18, 2006
I don't know about the serious work of James Hamilton-Paterson, but this totally entertaining book is gorgeously written, with such a lavish attention to the craft of writing that some people might think he wasted staggering amounts of talent on fluff. But there's the mark of a fantastic writer -- he obviously has staggering amounts of talent to waste. Eloquently crafted, paragraph after paragraph, so entertaining and so beautifully written you are moved to tears of laughter and nearly speechless appreciation for the gift of what you're reading. The description of Alien Pie and the ultimate experience of its consumption must be the high point of the book, although I haven't finished it yet, so there could be something even better in store.