Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books, Hardcover, 9780525429142, July 28, 2015, 320pp.)
The Short of It:
Food has a way of bringing people together but in this novel, not only do they come together, but they continually evolve to discover who they really are.
The Rest of It:
Lars Thorvald, a chef, spends his days consumed with the beauty of the bounty before him. His wife Cynthia, an aspiring sommelier, appears to be his perfect match, but when their daughter Eva is born, Cynthia realizes that motherhood is not for her and abandons both her husband and infant daughter to pursue a life elsewhere.
This was a wonderful read. Many have said that it reads like a collection of short stories but I didn’t get that feeling at all. Each chapter is based on an ingredient that becomes very important at the end of the novel, but it lends a certain mystery to the story as new characters are introduced and the pieces begin to come together.
If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you will enjoy this book because it’s smart and the characters are a little quirky and flawed but they all meld together to tell a really good story.
It’s about family and friends and really, the pursuit of happiness and whatever your definition of happiness may be.
This is a debut novel for Stradal but you’d never know it while reading it. It’s a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
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