"'Wickedly witty... Anyone who does not add this hilarious divertimento to their summer reading list should be put on a forced diet of Gerald's inimitable Alien Pie.' Michael Dibdin, Guardian; 'A deliciously nasty farce set in [Hamilton-Paterson's] adopted Tuscany... Cooking with Fernet Branca had me laughing out loud and uproariously. All Tuscanites should read it, preferably over a plate of stewed otter chunks in lobster sauce.' Sunday Telegraph; 'Larded with bitter satire and piquant wit, at the expense, often, of its readers and their dreams of Italy... I laughed out loud several times a chapter.' The Times"
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.