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Cooking with Fernet Branca de James…
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Cooking with Fernet Branca (original: 2004; edição: 2005)

de James Hamilton-Paterson

Séries: Gerald Samper (1)

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5243935,142 (3.69)136
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.… (mais)
Membro:NarratorLady
Título:Cooking with Fernet Branca
Autores:James Hamilton-Paterson
Informação:Europa Editions (2005), Paperback, 288 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Cooking with Fernet Branca de James Hamilton-Paterson (2004)

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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 |
It's been a long time since I laughed out loud within the first 10 pages of a book. This is a book that will especially appeal to anyone who has spent time in Italy...The recipes alone will make you both laugh and grimace. I recommend this as a most entertaining way to spend an afternoon reading. ( )
  Jcambridge | Sep 11, 2016 |
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If you will insist on arriving at Pisa airport in the summer you will probably have to fight your way out of the terminal building past incoming sun-reddened Brits, snappish with clinking luggage.
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As a matter of fact, reading a book over a solitary evening meal in a foreign restaurant is normally one of my greatest pleasures, following the particular enjoyment of choosing a meal from a menu in a language I can't understand. Not knowing what I shall shortly be eating is just as exciting as not knowing what I shall be reading in half a chapter's time.
And then quite suddenly she herself was back. I happened to be passing the window upstairs with a pair of binoculars when I caught sight of an unmistakable figure hanging out her laughably misnamed smalls on a washing line among the trees. The Iron Curtain's Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, although she was actually wearing her voluminous beige shift that for some reason put me in mind of a Bedouin traffic warden. I could barely contain myself for half an hour before drifting ever so casually across.
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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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