The Devil's Larder by Jim Crace

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A sumptuous, scintillating stew of sixty four short fictions about appetite, food, and the objects of our desire

All great meals, it has been said, lead to discussions of either sex or death, and The Devil's Larder, in typical Cracean fashion, leads to both. Here are sixty four short fictions of at times Joycean beauty--about schoolgirls hunting for razor clams in the strand; or searching for soup-stones to take out the fishiness of fish but to preserve the flavor of the sea; or about a mother and daughter tasting food in one another's mouth to see if people really do taste things differently--and at other times, of Mephistophelean mischief: about the woman who seasoned her food with the remains of her cremated cat, and later, her husband, only to hear a voice singing from her stomach (you can't swallow grief, she was advised); or the restaurant known as "The Air & Light," the place to be in this small coastal town that serves as the backdrop for Crace's gastronomic flights of fancy, but where no food or beverage is actually served, though a 12 percent surcharge is imposed just for just sitting there and being seen.
Food for thought in the best sense of the term, The Devil's Larder is another delectable work of fiction by a 2001 winner of The National Book Critics Circle Award.


About Jim Crace

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JIM CRACE is the author of ten previous novels. Being Dead was shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Fiction Prize and won the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2000. In 1997, Quarantine was named the Whitbread Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Jim Crace has also received the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the E. M. Forster Award, and the Guardian Fiction Prize. He lives in Birmingham, England.

Author Residence: Birmingham, England

Author Hometown: Hertfordshire, England
Published October 7, 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 177 pages
Genres: Cooking, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Devil's Larder

Kirkus Reviews

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and an erotic roundelay in which dining companions play “Strip Fondue,” impulsively subjecting themselves to “the scorching treachery of cheese.” The “lessons” of these sophisticated stories might have been devised by an epicurean Aesop who wisely balances the pleasures of seizing the day with a ...

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The New York Times

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Traditionally, the Devil tempts us to look rather differently at things we are supposed to take for granted: all the rules and regulations and good reasons that keep us happy by keeping us cautious.

Oct 21 2001 | Read Full Review of The Devil's Larder

The Guardian

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a widow adds her dead husband's ashes to her stews, only to be told, when she hears him singing inside her, that she cannot eat her grief, but instead must allow it to consume her.

Sep 02 2001 | Read Full Review of The Devil's Larder

Publishers Weekly

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A story about a boy whose neighbor becomes a suburban Thoreau, living outside, angling in a river, excreting on what he grows and then eating it and handing it out to be eaten by others, expresses elegantly the child's perception of the alien as both frightening and perversely fascinating.

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Star Tribune

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In 64 brief, parabolic tales, this award-winning English writer considers the uses and metaphoric properties of food.

Oct 27 2001 | Read Full Review of The Devil's Larder

Book Reporter

When I began reading the first of the 64 short vignettes that comprise Jim Crace's THE DEVIL'S LARDER, certain early conclusions formed.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Devil's Larder

Entertainment Weekly

Each of the 64 stories in this collection is about food, a tiny elemental folk tale on themes of hunger and gluttony, nourishment and poison: A woman is going arthritic because of a fondness for eggplant and does not intend to quit.

Oct 26 2001 | Read Full Review of The Devil's Larder

London Review of Books

as the winner of the race crossed the line of shadow marked at the side of the store by a low sinking sun.’ All the characters Crace most admires, the men he writes about most compellingly, wonder at the great, the common and the simple things of the world, drawing life into themselves, like Lawr...

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