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Cooking With Fernet Branca av James…
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Cooking With Fernet Branca (urspr publ 2004; utgåvan 2005)

av James Hamilton-Paterson (Författare)

Serier: Gerald Samper (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5284035,740 (3.68)137
Gerald Samper, an effete Englishman, lives on a hilltop in Tuscany. He is a ghostwriter for celebrities, and a foodie, whose weird tastes include 'Mussels in Chocolate and Garlic' and 'Fernet Branca Ice Cream'. His idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marta, a vulgar woman from a former Soviet republic now run by gangsters, notably male members of her family. She is a composer in a neo-folk style who claims to be writing a score for a trendy Italian film director. The neighbours' lives disastrously intertwine. The entourages of the rock star and the director come and go; mysterious black helicopters bring news of mayhem in Voynova, Marta's homeland; and along the way the English obsession with Tuscany is satirized mercilessly. World rights for Cooking with Fernet Branca are controlled by Faber. Rights for Germany have already been sold.… (mer)
Medlem:Maifrin
Titel:Cooking With Fernet Branca
Författare:James Hamilton-Paterson (Författare)
Info:Faber & Faber (2005), Edition: Main, 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Cooking with Fernet Branca av James Hamilton-Paterson (2004)

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It's been nothing but bad news lately, so it's time for some lightweight comic reading.

I think that I probably bought Cooking with Fernet Branca because it was longlisted for the Booker in 2004. My visit to Goodreads today reveals that it is Book #1 in the Gerald Samper series which surprises me a little because I thought that the joke had worn a little thin towards the end, but still, it is a funny book.

The narrative is carried by two alternating voices:

Gerald Samper is a truly awful and spectacularly pompous Englishman who is a ghost writer of sporting biographies. He despises all his subjects, as indeed he despises many things, including his neighbour in Tuscany where he has bought a villa. Since he considers himself a writer of more importance than his publications suggest, he has had assurances from the house agent Mr Benedetti that this villa is remote and quiet and conducive to creative thought, and that his only neighbour down the hill is very rarely in residence.

His neighbour, Marta, was promised the same solitude. A refugee from a family of ex-Soviet crime lords in 'Voynovia', she is involved in the creative industries too. She has come for peace and quiet to complete a film score, on commission from a famous but past his use-by date Italian film-maker called Piero Pacini. She despises Gerry with equal fervour but she has a good heart and when Gerry knocks himself out demolishing an ancient privy that spoils his view, she brings him breakfast the next day.
'Gerree!' she cries, and certainly her voice has no connection whatever with music. It goes right through your head like a bullet, leaving a track of gross tissue damage. 'You are not bedding! Is very good. Look, I bring a break-fast. Yes. Is Voynovian food for dying.' She produces what looks like a ball of putty wrapped in a sock. Is kasha.'

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2021/08/19/cooking-with-fernet-branca-by-james-hamilton... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Aug 19, 2021 |
Gerald Sampler is an Englishman planing to hide in his quiet house in the NW corner of Tuscany to ghostwrite autobiographies of minor celebrities, mostly sports figures. Upon his arrival, he meets his newly arrived neighbour, Marta, who has escaped from "one of those vague ex-Soviet countries," where her family still lives and appear to be involved in organized crime. She composes film scores for a ....colourful .... Italian film director. Gerald and Marta clash. Gerry sings loud opera, badly, while creating outrageous recipes that involve something savoury, such as sardines, and something sweet, such as butterscotch. Endless combinations. Some of them include dubious and illegal ingredients, such as otter and Jack Russel terrier. And I learned early on the "Fernet Branca" is a disgusting herbal spirit (which I'm sure my Italian father-in-law made me sample once) that both characters drinking frequently. Silly me, on reading the title, I assumed Fernet Branca was a person.

Very clever satire, mocking the fantasy "memoirs" such as Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence, and pretentious books about gourmet cooking, and satirizing a zillion other things as well.

Way too many entertaining passages to quote, but if I have to pick one, I'll share his comment on Jane Austen: "Even the witty old fag-hag Jane Austen started one of her incomparable novels--was it Donna?--with the telling sentence 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a good man in possession of a wife must be in want of a tidy fortune.' And there you have it, memorably expressed."

Cooking With Fernet Branca was nominated for the 2004 Booker Prize. There are two sequels: Amazing Disgrace and Rancid Pansies, which I will eventually track down.

Recommended for: People with a sense of humour and who know a lot of stuff. Hamilton-Paterson packs the narrative with obscure details and goes off on many a tangent. Lots were outside my scope of knowledge and didn't mean much, but all the ones I understood were hilarious. If you're one of those people who take pride in being outside everyday culture -- especially 2004 from a Brit male POV, this novel will be gibberish. Otherwise, if you like clever, fun books, I highly recommend it. ( )
  Nickelini | Jul 16, 2017 |
Funny and dark dark dark with the most disgusting recipes ever. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I might come back to this one, but I'm discarding it for now. Just slightly off from being funny, and was feeling a little bit like a slog.
  mkunruh | Nov 13, 2016 |
Strange. Hysterical. Zany and over-the-top. I enjoyed this quite a lot. ( )
  EllAreBee | Sep 19, 2016 |
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Gerald Samper, an effete Englishman, lives on a hilltop in Tuscany. He is a ghostwriter for celebrities, and a foodie, whose weird tastes include 'Mussels in Chocolate and Garlic' and 'Fernet Branca Ice Cream'. His idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marta, a vulgar woman from a former Soviet republic now run by gangsters, notably male members of her family. She is a composer in a neo-folk style who claims to be writing a score for a trendy Italian film director. The neighbours' lives disastrously intertwine. The entourages of the rock star and the director come and go; mysterious black helicopters bring news of mayhem in Voynova, Marta's homeland; and along the way the English obsession with Tuscany is satirized mercilessly. World rights for Cooking with Fernet Branca are controlled by Faber. Rights for Germany have already been sold.

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