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Viccie

The Debt to Pleasure

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Tarquin Winot - hedonist, food obsessive, ironist and snob - travels a circuitous route from the Hotel Splendide in Portsmouth to his cottage in Provence. Along the way he tells the story of his childhood and beyond through a series of delectable menus, organized by season. But this is no ordinary cookbook, and as we are drawn into Tarquin's world, a far more sinister mission slowly reveals itself . . .

 

This is a very clever book, too clever some might say, and beautifully written - there's not a duff sentence in it. It's barely 200 pages long, yet it took me nearly six weeks to read it, partially because the prose, though elegant, is verry dense and it gets wearing after a few pages, but mainly because Tarquin has to be one of the most unpleasant charecters in literature. I don't mind unpleasant narrators but Tarquin has no redeeming qualities at all and it gets hard to read of endless self absorbtion, conceit and downright evil with barely any relief.

 

It's a book club choice and I must not have perservered otherwise - I would have deliberately abandoned it, just never got around to picking it up again. However I'm glad I did, it's definitely a book to look back on and consider and I hope will provoke a really good discussion.

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