The life of Eva Thorvald from conception through to fame in her late twenties. This is an extraordinary book, laced with food and recipes, it gives us sections of her life through the stories of those involved with her, beginning with her parents. Covering bullying and escape at 11, a school crush at 17, a potential lover at 20, cousins, friends and friends of friends, eight vinaigrettes which are almost short stories that all link into Eva. It is rich in character, sensitive and tender, an interesting, intriguing way to portray an ambitious girl who becomes a great chef. The book turns full circle which is delightful.
A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...
'J. Ryan Stradal has written a book that everyone at Quercus has taken to their hearts – perhaps because he has written it, with such conviction, wit and energy, from his own. It has the measure of an irresistible hit.’ Jon Riley, Editor in Chief Quercus
Have you met Eva Thorvald? To her father, a chef, she's a pint-sized recipe tester and the love of his life. To the chilli chowdown contestants of Cook County, Illinois, she's a fire-eating demon. To the fashionable foodie goddess of supper clubs, she's a wanton threat. She's an enigma, a secret ingredient that no one can figure out. Someday, Eva will surprise everyone. One by one, they tell their story; together, they tell Eva's. Joyful, quirky and heartwarming, this is a novel about the family you lose, the friends you make and the chance connections that make a life. On the day before her eleventh birthday, she's cultivating chilli peppers in her wardrobe like a pro. Abandoned by her mother, gangly and poor, Eva arms herself with the weapons of her unknown heritage: a kick-ass palate and a passion bordering on obsession. Over the years, her tastes grow, and so do her ambitions. One day Eva will be the greatest chef in the world. But along the way, the people she meets will shape her - and she, them - in ways unforgettable, riotous and profound. So she - for one - knows exactly who she is by the time her mother returns.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
'An oven-warm yet bittersweet collection of character studies circling the story of Eva Thorvald ... Hilariously precise in its cultural geography ... But in spite of its locavorous detail, the novel's plot is driven by a universal truth: that food brings people together' Independent on Sunday
'This offbeat debut features many satisfying ingredients, including triumph over adversity, recipes and a warm Midwestern backdrop' Mail on Sunday
'Stradal creates something quirky, affecting and delicious' Sunday Mirror
'Fun and original' Woman and Home
'Stradal's delicious debut reveals Eva's sweet, sad, funny self in a series of funny vignettes Psychologies A gorgeous feast that feeds both the senses and the soul' Simple Things
'A tender coming-of-age story with a mix of finely rendered pathos and humour ... Ultimately, Kitchens reveals the strong interplay among food, family and our most cherished memories ... Stradal suggests that love - or the absence of love - is the most powerful condition of all' Washington Post
'Time flew by when we sat down with Kitchens of the Great Midwest, a charming and unusual first novel ... We were blown away by Stradal's flair for depicting messy emotions and mixed-up families, and delighted by his insightful and funny reflections on foodie culture and class dynamics' iBooks, Book of the Month
Publication date: 05/05/2016
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication date: 06/08/2015
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
|Publication date:||5th May 2016|
|Author:||J. Ryan Stradal|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
J. Ryan Stradal's writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Rattling Wall, McSweeney's: The Goods, and Hobart, among other places, and he edits the fiction section of The Nervous Breakdown. Born and raised in Minnesota, he now lives in Los Angeles, where he co-hosts a literary-culinary events series called Hot Dish and has worked as a TV producer, notably for Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch. He does not own a gun and a motorcycle, which makes him unique among the men in his extended family. Author pic © Anna PasquarellaMore About J. Ryan Stradal