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Kitchens of the Great Midwest
by J. Ryan Stradal


Overview -

"An impressive feat of narrative jujitsu. . . that keeps readers turning the pages too fast to realize just how ingenious they are." "The New York Times Book Review," Editor s Pick
Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout s "Olive Kitteridge." A standout." "" Library Journal""(starred review)"
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest, "about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country s most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer s most hotly-anticipated debut.  Read more...


 
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More About Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
 
 
 
Overview

"An impressive feat of narrative jujitsu. . . that keeps readers turning the pages too fast to realize just how ingenious they are." "The New York Times Book Review," Editor s Pick
Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout s "Olive Kitteridge." A standout." "" Library Journal""(starred review)"
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest, "about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country s most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer s most hotly-anticipated debut.
When Lars Thorvald s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine and a dashing sommelier he s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter starting with pureed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that s a testament to her spirit and resilience.
Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525429142
  • ISBN-10: 052542914X
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
  • Publish Date: July 2015
  • Page Count: 320

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-05-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

Stradal’s debut novel centers on Eva Thorvald, the daughter of a chef and an aspiring sommelier, who has food in her DNA—a fact that remains irrefutable even after her mother abandons her and her father dies when she is an infant. Raised by relatives in Wisconsin and Iowa, Eva grows into a tall, awkward girl obsessed with restaurant kitchens, chili peppers, and local cuisine, which she folds into extremely popular and sought-after fine-dining experiences. Eva’s story unfolds more like a short story collection than a novel as each vignette, told from the point of view of a different character, reveals another facet of her personality. The unifying (though slightly trite) conceit is that each character introduces an ingredient that lands on Eva’s tasting menu in the final act. Stradal’s neither a food snob nor exclusively a comfort-food advocate: he lovingly skewers Lutheran church-basement cuisine and locavore foodies alike as he tracks Eva’s path to success. Certain bits of information occasionally feel deliberately withheld for dramatic effect (though they are eventually revealed), and Eva’s superstar status at the end of the story feels like a little bit of a stretch, but Eva herself is a compelling, deliciously flawed character. Agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (July)

 
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