The Devil's Larder


Each of the 64 stories in this collection is about food, a tiny elemental folk tale on themes of hunger and gluttony, nourishment and poison: A woman is going arthritic because of a fondness for eggplant and does not intend to quit. A man savors his view of trespassing children who eat from his crab-apple tree. A baker whips up psychedelic treats for a condemned man’s last meal. The final story reads, in full, ”Oh honey.” Such cuteness at the cost of substance is typical of the book’s defects. Crace, author of last year’s National Book Critics Circle prize-winning novel Being Dead, consistently evokes tastes and tangs with exactitude, but rarely with enough muscle to make his mythlets stick to the ribs.

The Devil's Larder
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