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August 8, 2020 | Rome, Italy

The Devil’s Larder

By | 2018-03-21T18:28:35+01:00 December 11th, 2003|Recent Reviews|

By Jim Crace

Penguin, 2002. 208 pages.

Victual parables for language gourmets. Sixty-four in all, the last one reads only “Oh Honey.” As always, Crace’s wordplay is fresh as flapping fish. Pastry lids give off an “exasperating shush of steam,” hot cheese “is famous for its treachery,” snack on “a fresh brunette of bread.” He serves bat and leather and piss and pygmy (also “blind pie”). He tells you of “Strip Fondue” (no. 32) in mixed company. He warns of masturbating into eggs (no. 41) lest they become pregnant and outwit you. Oh, and colon polyps sprout twigs.

If you revel in food — including making laughter juice from carbonation — you’ll find these fancies irresistible. They’re morality tales with a darkly quirky, erotic Swiftian touch that arise from the assembled insinuations of the kitchen. Park this Devil beside a cookbook.

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