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3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2016
This is absolutely one you're going to either love, or hate. Me? I couldn't have loved it more. Season to Taste is bloody brilliant, but you're going to need more than a strong stomach and a liking for the darker side of life to get through it. You've got to be ready for the most unconventional of heroines, confusing time jumps, working out all your own answers to all the big questions, and never wanting to eat sausages ever again.

I notice it has a horribly low rating on Goodreads, which I think is because people are expecting some kind of comedy blockbuster, from the blurb, or a Desperate Housewives style narrative. Season to Taste is Dark, yes, but not Darkly Comic, as such. I didn't really find it "funny" in any way. It's just...DARK. The comedy in the narrative comes from the contrast between the bleak and the banal, but at its heart, at least, it remains wholly bleak. To me, anyway. We all read in different ways, of course. I don't see anything of Hollywood in this one, which is perhaps the biggest reason I loved it. It's too impossibly real for the big screen - there's no glamour or glitz - just a war between hope and hopelessness and a heroine who'd never capture hearts. Not outwardly, at least. I'd be lying if I said a part of her didn't capture mine.

Be prepared for a book which will make you put your head down between your knees at times, and look at everyone around you in a slightly different way. An easy, unique and brilliantly original five stars for me. One that breaks the mould.
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on 24 March 2017
This tale has a really original premise, which is paid off tenfold in the telling. It's an allegory for overcoming grief and regret at a life wasted in an unhappy marriage - hung on the plot of how a woman kills her husband and disposes of his body. The how-to notes are laugh out loud funny. Lizzy Praine is a wonderfully unreliable narrator - and her unhinged state means that her logic is often shaky, to say the least. I found the whole book hugely enjoyable - but it's not for the feint hearted. It really IS about a woman who kills and eats her husband - so if you're squeamish, it's probably not going to be to your taste. But if you're looking for a once-in-a-decade, genre-busting read, this one's for you.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Possibly the strangest book I've read and one that left me completely bemused.

I stuck with it, that wasn't easy, and after a few chapters surprised myself by relaxing into the plot and beginning to feel an absolute fascination with Lizzie Prain. There she is in her 50s with 30 years of bleak, grey marriage behind her and a dead husband chopped up in the freezer. She wanted her freedom and now she has it. Interesting to say the least.

The scenes involving the murdering and butchering of Jacob are extremely graphic and the way the axe and saw chop and splinter through bone made me cringe however; that's just a prequel to what's coming as Lizzie gets busy with the stockpot and sizzling hot oven. It isn't nice, honestly, and the eating sequences are stomach churning in more way than one.

So what's the justification for Lizzie, a perfectly ordinary woman, committing the unthinkable?. Quite simply; eating her husband is safer than trying to hide his body. After all Lizzie's been through she doesn't want Jacob's body emerging from a shallow grave and dragging her back to their former 'nothingness'. Lizzie goes off on a journey of meticulously planned cannibalism, including stock pots to soften bones - this girl has thought of everything, to ensure he's gone forever.

The further you delve into the story the more the author reveals the true relationship between Lizzie and Jacob. Strangely enough I stopped being horrified by what Lizzie had done and began hoping she'd get away with it. I think Natalie Young was particularly clever in that respect. Building empathy into this plot was no easy task when every part of Lizzie's butchery and cannibalism are meticulously recorded for the reader to 'enjoy'.

Season to Taste is one of the darkest novels I've read and one of the strangest. Less a story than an exploration of how far the pent up frustration of a long, joyless marriage to a difficult man might push a woman beyond the level of her endurance. How far would you go?. Obviously not this far but; you might just think about it!.

Over complicated, suffocatingly slow and horrific. I don't know what to make of it. I can't honestly say I enjoyed the read but I felt compelled to finish the book just to find out what happened to Lizzie.
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on 29 April 2014
I was sent this book in exchange for a honest review.

Once I had read the blurb I thought the book sounded really different and intriguing, I was a little apprehensive of starting it as I had heard it was gruesome, something that I don't really like in books. However I had also heard a lot of people talking about this book so thought I would give it a go.

This is about Lizzie, the opening few pages we realise that she had murdered her husband, Jacob. She hit him over the head with a garden spade and now she needs to dispose of the evidence. She did not have a happy marriage to Jacob and now that he has gone she does not intend on paying for his departure. She intends to get the deed over with and begin a new life in Scotland.

I found the book way too gruesome for me, I did not enjoy reading about Lizzie chopping him up, freezing him and then finding ways to cook him. I understand that the book is meant to have dark humour, it was dark - humorous? Not for me.

The story is told with very little emotion and I feel that I could never really get to know any of the characters. I found it written quite bluntly, there is no remorse from Lizzie she is truly focused on how she is going to get to Scotland and when. I also didn't find it a particularly quick read. The recipes do break the text up, however I didn't enjoy reading the recipes, these were also written in scrawly hand writing which at times became difficult to read.

Overall I did not enjoy this book at all, which is unfortunate as there was quite a lot of hype about it, it just wasn't for me. If you enjoy dark humour books and are not squeamish then you will probably enjoy this read. It just wasn't for me.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this in exchange for a honest review.
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
“I could kill you….!” is indeed a common angry outburst, the outcome normally far more innocent than the intention implies. However, this novel gives a deliciously dark and irreverent take on it, when Lizzie kills her husband Jacob, then systematically eats him over the ensuing days.

I felt uncomfortable and at times nauseous reading this book. However, exposure to the numerous meal preparations of body parts gradually decreased my revulsion somewhat. It became more fascinating rather than disgusting, an almost hypnotic experience as the tale progressed, to the point where it was alarmingly digestible and acceptable, (no pun intended). To some degree I became acclimatised to the macabre nature of the whole experience with each turn of the page.

The rather disembodied voice of Lizzie’s superego interspersing the text provides an objectivity, bringing a certain calmness to this whole grisly exercise for Lizzie. It is as if this inner voice acts as a brake on her internal chaos, which would otherwise move inexorably towards complete mental breakdown. It stabilises and quietens her emotionally, allowing her to take some deep breaths and keep going on her mission, stalling off what feels an otherwise inevitable plunge into madness.

The actual ingestion of her husband’s body parts, bit by bit, allows her to gradually let go of some of her inner rage she has towards her husband. I found myself having an odd sense of empathy for this seriously depressed lady, a person who has always desperately sought affection. What does come after despair?

I admire the author’s depth of imagination to translate the scientifically correct into a gruesome piece of fiction - scary to be reading a treatise on the supposed art of surgical dismemberment of a husband, and the subsequent gourmet recipes involving his body parts.

Can anger and hatred produce such profound results? History says yes, of course it can, so it is not as far fetched as it may first appear.

I did try a version of the pineapple marinade, but used it with pork rather than human parts. It was very tasty. I baulked at the thought of “crown jewels in a cassoulet” however. Overall a satisfying and original novel to read.
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on 29 March 2015
Hmm, didn't quite live up to the hype. Really expected more from this. I ended up flicking through the pages in the end as the recipes and cooking got a bit samey. Shame really. Think it would have been a good book if discovered without the hype.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There is a real ingenuity to Season To Taste. The idea behind it, the writing, the subtlety, the horror, the black humour, and yet it is quite sedate, almost staid - very steady.

I am giving nothing away by telling you that the story begins just as Lizzie has murdered her husband Jacob. She battered him around the head with a garden spade on on ordinary Monday morning. Lizzie has endured a long and miserable marriage, and she certainly does not intend for anyone to make her suffer now that Jacob is finally gone. So, her idea to make sure that she can get away and start her new life in Scotland is that she will chop up Jacob into sixteen pieces, bag and label each part of him, freeze the parts and eat them over the next few weeks. She'll cook them in different ways; grill, stew, barbeque, grill. She'll season him well with; lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices. Then she will leave, and then she will be happy.

This story is told in a very matter-of-fact way, don't expect a fast and furious read, and don't expect to read of Lizzie's sorrow or regret, or panic, or dismay. Lizzie knows what she is doing, and how she will do it, and focusses entirely on her freedom. Be prepared though for some stomach-churning descriptive prose when reading about the process of dismembering the body and the cooking of each part. Natalie Young has a wonderfully macabre imagination that transposes to her writing quite beautifully.

Not everything goes quite as Lizzie plans; enter the character of Emmett, a old, wandering, senile man who poses a threat along the way.

Ultimately, underneath the horror of what Lizzie has done, is a story of a very broken relationship. The reader is given an insight into Lizzie and Jacob's marriage, and it is not a happy place to be. Lizzie is a woman whose mind is teetering on the edge, driven to do something so awful, and writing her own guide on how to cope along the way. The insight into marriage, and into a broken mind is chilling.

There are times when the story feels a little disjointed (no pun intended!), but overall, this is a very cleverly written novel with touches of very very black humour, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness and pity.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Natalie Young's second novel, "Season to Taste (or How to Eat Your Husband)", is a very strange book indeed. The title tells you pretty much all you need to know about its subject matter and, yes, it is every bit as grim and gruesome as it sounds. It is, however, surprisingly hard to turn away from, as the author alternately and repeatedly disgusts and then endears the reader to the protagonist, Lizzie, and her rather bizarre choice of a method of disposing of the body of the husband she casually bumps off one day.

The narrative is cleverly constructed, although ultimately I felt it was its very cleverness that is its own undoing, because the story seems to my mind to have just a twist or two too many for its own good, leaving me thinking I'd missed something by the end. Beneath its macabre outer trappings, the book is essentially a tale of disappointment, disillusionment and liberation from life's little tyrannies. It is well written, the prose sparse yet human. Its main merit (in addition to a certain originality, which gives the author plenty of scope for exploring ground that has hardly been touched in literature before) is its brevity; most readers should be able to consume it all within a single sitting -- provided they can stomach the subject. I'm not at all convinced it will leave many satisfied at the end, however.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2016
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a curious book - I expected it to be something different. The title and the blurb suggested something which would be brimming with a very dark humour, and it seemed like a fresh take on the old subject of marital discord and murder. However, what we actually get is not so much dark as dull - Lizzie decides, after impulsively bashing her husband's head in with a spade, to dispose of his body by eating him over the course of a month. She chops him up and cooks each part very methodically, with far more description than is necessary - I felt quite queasy reading the detailed descriptions of cooking hands, feet etc. The bits of story inbetween, which should tell us what drove Lizzie to this, don't really do that - in fact her husband seems to have been just as miserable as her, and plotting his own escape from their shared misery. The chronology of the story starts to jump about towards the end with no clear reason why, and the ending isn't particularly satisfactory - it doesn't feel as though we're reading about a heroine as the blurb suggests, and I couldn't help thinking if this were about a man murdering and eating his slightly overbearing and irritating wife, it would never have been published. Lizzie isn't battered, abused or harmed other than being in a mutually unhappy marriage with a rather critical husband, so there seems no real justification for her actions. We do get a sense of her unravelling with the stress of it all, but that seems to then go nowhere, and the addition of characters such as Tom from the farm up the road and Joanna just seem to have been half-baked ideas for characters which again end up nowhere.

What got this book three stars from me was the fact that some of it is well written, there are some lines where you just think, if we had more of that, this book would have worked. I did like the sections throughout the book where Lizzie instructs herself how to get through this, with quite meditative ideas - with some humour, these sections would have made the book something altogether better. Could have been better, and if you're the slightest bit queasy reading gory stuff, definitely avoid this book!
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Lizzie Prain never set out to kill her husband Jacob. Sure, she bashed his head in with a spade but she didn’t plan it. It just happened. Now that he’s dead though, she’s got to do something with the body and eating him seems a fitting tribute – at least it means he’s not going to waste and no one will have to stumble over the gruesome remains of his body. It’s not easy to eat a human being, however, and Lizzie has to find a way to make herself go through with the plan while simultaneously convincing her friends and neighbours that Jacob has left her ...

Natalie Young’s literary novel has a great hook - the idea of killing and eating your spouse has such smashing allegorical potential – but despite some good lines, the execution left me colder than a corpse. The main problem for me is that Lizzie is, for the most part, such a dull and lifeless character. Young alludes to her deprived childhood and inability to commit to a career but there’s little depth brought out in her marriage with Jacob (who at best, is distant and at worst, woefully underdrawn). She’s a character who’s constantly running and who has an inability to confront anyone or anything but that by itself doesn’t explain why she takes such a drastic step and the act of eating Jacob brings little insight to either him or her. There’s a flirtation with Tom, a young man who works at the local garden centre, and in theory the suspicions of an elderly neighbour should add tension (but doesn’t). Perhaps the one thing that annoyed me most about the book though was the way in which almost everyone takes Lizzie’s word for the reason behind Jacob’s disappearance. It simply didn’t ring true to me – most notably in the case of Jacob’s sometime art dealer (and maybe mistress) Joanna, who engages in a bizarre exchange of correspondence with Lizzie that doesn’t appear to make her the slightest bit suspicious as to Lizzie’s mental state. I did like the motivational notes that Lizzie writes to herself and there’s a grim humour in the clinical way she works out how to hack up and best cook her late husband’s various parts but it wasn’t enough to hold my attention and as such, I’m not sure I’d check out Young’s other work.
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