2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Loved this book!,
This review is from: The Coffee Story (Paperback)
Having read some of the reviews on Amazon about the Coffee Story, I felt moved to write my own because I really loved this amusing story of Theodore `Teddy' Everett, 5th generation coffee magnate. It's boisterously told - despite the fact its truculent narrator is recounting it from a hospice bed (where ghastly coffee is served to the dying in Styrofoam cups, seemingly a final insult to the Everett and Sons coffee empire).
As has been commented on in other reviews, linear narrative appears to have been dispensed with as Teddy's vivid memories pour out of him - his life in Ethiopia with his naïve colonialist parents and an unforgettable first love. It weaves through two marriages and two divorces, uprising, revolution and coup. But I thought this apparent lack of linear narrative was deceptive because the story does culminate in a tale he has never shared before, that involves his father.. and one of his few regrets.
I felt the writing style kind of jolted you awake like I imagine a cup of Everett and Sons' finest would. Teddy's narration is shot through with a staccato of constant interruption by his own assessment of his memories, and with constant repetition. It doesn't make for an easy read (and I agree with the reviewer who said it's best to read it in several long chunks) but to me this gave the story dynamism and it allowed me to enjoy the way words were being employed.
I can't finish this review without adding one of my favourite quotes from the book. It's one of Teddy's many trenchant observations of those around him, in this case Birtwhistle, his one time private tutor - `He was an intellectual of mediocre intellect who had seen through the hypocrisy and cant of the world but found nothing with which to replace it. A man of borrowed ideas, desperately pressing any two of them together in the hope of producing a third, and never quite succeeding.' - Lovely.