Edible Stories. Mark Kurlansky.

Kurlansky, Mark. Edible Stories. Riverhead New York. 2010. F;12/11.

I think I hooked onto this one along a line started by Anthony Bourdain, running through Jim Harrison. Food-content reprobates, in other words. This guy fits right in.

I put the book down for many weeks after being unimpressed with the style and the pointlessness of the first story. Took it up again because I had nothing else to read before Christmas, and then it grew on me a bit right at the end after being not much of anything through the whole middle. I know I’ve mentioned that different short stories loosely strung together by characters and plot elements popping up here and there is obviously the creative writing department fad of the decade, and you really have to wonder about somebody latching on to that kind of a conveyor. Like chefs still into foam sauces.

Anyway food as a theme also runs through all of these unpolished pieces, and although I’m sure based on his output, awards, etc. that Kurlansky is a competent and interesting food nonfiction guy, he’s not in the same league with people who do short fiction successfully for a living. A lot of the characters and situations are just silly, and he’s either patronizing his characters for some misguided stylistic reason, or just doesn’t know how to breathe life into them.

It’s a strange dénouement where cannibalism, terrorism, racism, and non-rendered sex (focusing on women’s backsides; there for once he held my interest) all come together in Seattle of all places, and then everything just stops.

So-so. 5.9

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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