on 18 September 2013
The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone is a very different animal. The book is about fine dining, cooking, the devil and magic herbs. Reading this book left such a deep impression that I immediately turned back to the first page, and am now nearly finished it for the second time. The quality of the writing, of the observation, and the characterisation is such that it kicks you in the stomach and makes your life seem inconvenient. His book is all consuming. I actually stayed at home one day whilst my family went out and appreciated Northern Cyprus so that I could read. When I finished it, my mother told me she was relieved as I'd been so rude.
It also turns out that Will Storr (who I actually somehow wasn't aware of previously) is an award winning journalist who writes about wars and famine, and does many important things in the world, so he is an all round wonderful man. READ THIS BOOK, IT'S A CORKER.
on 7 May 2015
Excellent book - very well written, quirky and a real page-turner. From the first page I was drawn deeply into the story with it's multi-sensory descriptions, the contrasting story worlds of Dor and King and the amazing cast of characters, so well created. I desperately wanted Killian Lone to succeed in ambition and love and it felt like I was on his journey with him every step of the way as he faced his external enemies and internal demons. His character arc was fascinating to witness.
The plot is also muti-dimensional. I'm a real foodie so I could immerse myself in Killian's world as he cooked in the heat and the chaos of the restaurant kitchens. Yet I could also imagine his cottage in Dor and the feelings it stirred within him of his ancestral past and of his beloved Aunty. The two worlds colliding with the magical element was fun and creative and made the story.
There were a couple of scenes which I felt pushed the story a little bit too far into the 'far-fetched' realm where I lost sympathy for Killian but the author swiftly pulled me back into empathy mode and I was once again routing for Kill to succeed. I also didn't really get the 'flies' element but they served a purpose to repulse me which again was a nice contrast to the delicious food being described.
Overall, a very enjoyable read.
on 11 April 2013
This is a fantastic first novel from a writer whose non-fiction I have long admired. Set amid the brutal kitchens of 1980s London's top restaurants, it is a faustian thriller full of vivid characters, intense relationships and mysterious dark magic which had me gripped from the first page to the last. An exciting, moving, tragic fable with a unique and memorable protagonist. Read it!
on 12 October 2013
If you're looking for a happy, sparkly, sugary novel, this is not the book for you. It is not a cheery book. In fact it's actually pretty disturbing at points.
It is however definitely the book for you if you're looking for something well written with a brilliant story. It's intriguing and funny and gripping and manages to make the reader actually feel something for the characters (true, sometimes it's blind hatred, but it's better than not caring).
Will Storr writes in such a clever, beautiful, atmospherically descriptive way that even the cottage where a large part of the novel is set seemed to have a presence and a personality of its own. His use of metaphors are some of the most creative I've ever seen ("...a jellyfish of nausea wrapped it's tentacles around his stomach...").
As some other reviewers have said, I read it on holiday. I ploughed through it in a day and a half. That pretty much says it all.
on 10 April 2013
In the end I sort of enjoyed this book although at times some of the themes were disturbing in the extreme. On the face of it the book purports to be about celebrity chefs in the 1980's, but don't think this is a humorous, lightweight read. Killian Lone (called Kill by those close to him) has been abused as a child both physicaly and psycologicaly, and possibly sexually, by his mother. Killian had only one childhood ally - his grandmother, a descendent of a witch burnt at the stake. Killians career, his one sexual relationship, and his demise are bound to a secret ingredient in his cooking. Flashbacks to Killian's childhood are painfull to read, and his behaviour may make the reader cringe. I was sorry for him, but even sorrier for his two real victims.