Cooking with Fernet Branca

Cooking with Fernet Branca

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Gerald Samper, an effete Englishman, lives on a hilltop in Tuscany. He is a ghostwriter for celebrities, and a foodie, whose weird tastes include 'Mussels in Chocolate and Garlic' and 'Fernet Branca Ice Cream'. His idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marta, a vulgar woman from a former Soviet republic now run by gangsters, notably male members of her family. She is a composer in a neo-folk style who claims to be writing a score for a trendy Italian film director. The neighbours' lives disastrously intertwine. The entourages of the rock star and the director come and go; mysterious black helicopters bring news of mayhem in Voynova, Marta's homeland; and along the way the English obsession with Tuscany is satirized mercilessly. World rights for "Cooking with Fernet Branca" are controlled by Faber. Rights for Germany have already been sold.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 134 x 210 x 28mm | 340.2g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0571220908
  • 9780571220908
  • 327,175

Review Text

What better subject for a punchy farce than a war of egos between two neighbours? Gerald Samper, a pompous Englishman, sets up home on a Tuscan hilltop hoping to indulge his obscure culinary passions, belt out Rossini, and ghostwrite the occasional bland but lucrative celebrity biography. His pastoral dream is shattered when he discovers that he shares the hillside with Marta, a vulgar composer from a former Soviet republic. The seemingly unassailable cultural barrier is breached only by a shared weakness for Fernet Branca, that most tempting of Tuscan tipples. Juxtaposed are two fantastically engaging first person accounts of their love/hate relationship. James Hamilton-Paterson humorously ekes out the ironies their mutual misunderstanding throws up. Along the way we encounter a vapid boy-band singer and an over-precious film director, who like Gerald and Marta, are stumbling, crashing and burning (literally) to guarantee immortality through their art. Cooking with Fernet Branca is an unashamedly nasty, deliciously bold satire that will make you laugh out loud. (Kirkus UK)

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About James Hamilton-Paterson

James Hamilton-Paterson is the author of the bestselling Empire of the Clouds, which was hailed as a classic account of the golden age of British aviation. He won a Whitbread Prize for his first novel, Gerontius, and among his many other celebrated books are Seven-Tenths, one of the finest books written in recent times about the oceans, the satirical trilogy that began with Cooking with Fernet Branca, and the autobiographical Playing With Water. Born and educated in England, he has lived in the Philippines and Italy and now makes his home in Austria.

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