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Cooking With Fernet Branca Paperback – 3 Jun 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (3 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571220908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571220908
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,079,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'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" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Cooking With Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson satirizes the English obsession with Tuscany with a sharp and merciless wit.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
No, dear reader, this is not a recipe book. Oh, what fun I`ve had browsing some of the reviews on this page, bemusedly aghast at how some people will always miss the point. If how funny a book is can be measured by how much laughter it evokes, then this is the funniest novel I have ever read, and I`ve read it twice, and am `saving it up` to read a third time.
James Hamilton-Paterson is one of Britain`s best kept secrets, a truly original novelist who never writes the same book twice, so to speak - until he hit upon the premise for this series of comic novels - and whose work ought to be far better known. (His novels Gerontius, The Bell Boy and Loving Monsters are wonderful. He lives abroad and doesn`t play the publicity game, so you often have to seek out his books.)
Gerald Samper, in all his campery, is a brilliant comic creation, as is his exasperating neighbour Marta, an East European from a fictitious country, and an equally hilarious figure, impervious to the tantrums and cynicism of her opera-caterwauling neighbour Gerald. These opera arias, which he sings in full voice while cooking his revolting, baroque recipes - which get more outlandish in each chapter - are from wholly made-up operas. I was fooled for a while, then realised that the author was having some glorious fun at my delighted expense.
I repeat: this is not a `serious novel`, a travel book, or a book of recipes. It`s an uproariously
funny pastiche of the "Under A Tuscan Son" (one of many witty puns in the book) type of travel book, and a comic novel the like of which I thought writers had forgotten how to write any more.
The follow-up, Amazing Disgrace, is quite funny, but not a patch on this highly original, utterly mad, laugh-out-loud farce.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mary Evans on 3 May 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is written as alternating chapters by the two protagonists, describing their own view of the same bizarre events. Gerry, effete,witty,with a well-developed sense of the ridiculous, but takes himself and his culinary work rather seriously. Marta is an eccentric Eastern European, living amongst the beautiful Tuscan hills in happy squalor, whilst she tries to come to terms with modern technology to help compose a film score. You can't help but grow fond of these two characters as they merrily score points off each other.Very cleverly written, like watching a good film.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I was given this for Christmas, and found it an excellent antidote to the January blues! The narrative flow from two points of view, with overlaps, is a terrific comic device. Gerald is a great character, in both senses of the word, with a truly witty turn of phrase and some hilarious one-liners. I loved his attitude towards his ex-pat bachelor lifestyle, and of course his outrageous cuisine (don't worry - it's not a cookbook!). Marta is perhaps slightly less rounded as a character, but it doesn't matter too much as the whole book is such fun to read. Deep and meaningful it isn't, but if you've done the demanding bit and it's time for some light relief, this is for you. I'll really miss it now I've finished it. More please!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Urban Yuppie on 8 May 2008
Format: Paperback
What a treat to read a book where the story line is driven by highly developed characters. This surely is one sign of a skilled writer. It's a bit like watching a play with no props where only the skill of the actors keeps the audience spellbound. In an era of special effects and melodrama, this is a simple story well told.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Allenby VINE VOICE on 18 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of the funniest books of the last ten years - a modern classic to be read alongside Evelyn Waugh and PG Wodehouse. Anyone who fails to be amused probably has no sense of humour and should be exiled to a desert island with the collected works of Jeffrey Archer, or the man himself.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Helena Frith Powell on 22 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
It is rare that a book makes me laugh out loud and this one did, almost all the way through. The two main characters are brilliant; Gerry is almost hateful but we can't help liking him. I can't recommend this book highly enough,it's a must-read for anyone with a sense of humour.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 July 2010
Format: Paperback
The book: Gerald Samper is a ghostwriter for the famous and stupid; he works best in his secluded villa in the hills high above Viareggio. That is, until he discovers he is not all that secluded: an eastern (or central)European neighbour wanders over with a bottle of Fernet Branca, advice and trouble. Though he is an aesthete and sensitive soul, Samper (of the Shropshire Sampers) rises magnificently to the challenge, distributing operatic song and recipes (oyster and turnip profiteroles, otter chunks with lobster sauce) through the hills; plus some observations on Italian estate agents, British tourists, the rich and famous, and the philosophy of life.

My opinion: a comic masterpiece, I think, for specialists who enjoy morbid wit, beautiful writing, and taking potshots at almost everything... It is obvious Mr Samper (and his author) love Italy, but have seen some slightly less wonderful sides of it, as well. A glorious book which has me buying *anything* by this guy, and laughing out loud when I read it. And again. And again... highly recommended, a feast for connaisseurs and for anyone who takes themselves, and their foibles, not too seriously.
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