Saturday, December 28, 2019

Four top books about feasting

Priya Basil was born in London to a family with Indian roots and grew up in Kenya. In 2002 she moved to Berlin, where she still lives. She has published two novels and a novella, as well as numerous essays for various publications, including the Guardian. Her fiction has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Basil is also the cofounder of Authors for Peace, a political platform for writers and artists, established in 2010.

Her newest book is Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity.

At the Guardian Basil tagged four favorite books about feasting, including:
“Telling a recipe takes greater art than telling a joke,” observes Leo Auberg in Herta Müller’s novel The Hunger Angel. When he is deported from his home in Romania to a Soviet labour camp, privation defines Leo’s life, and profligacy rules his imagination. Fantasies of food haunt this story. Inmates talk most about eating when hunger is at its peak. The recipes they exchange each take “three acts, like a play”. These are more than a roll call of ingredients: they contain histories, lost loves and lives, endless longing. They taunt the body but nourish the deep human need to be heard and understood, to share and to survive. It is a story whose richness resides in its stark, spare telling.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue