This book isn’t the usual kind of book about food. It has no restaurant reviews, and very few recipes. You won’t hear about that darling place in Dordogne, but you may learn how to slice a cuttlefish. This is about food as experience. And who better to describe that experience than the French?
French Feast is a wide-ranging collection of mostly short stories with delicious idiosyncratic twists. Who would have thought that the bank robber’s gun was actually made of nougat? Or that you can starve at a chic Paris dinner when the fuses blow? Some stories are elegiac, like “The Taste of New Wine,” or rich with family memories, like “Bresse.” Others cast an ironic eye on diners’ manners—or their marriages, as in “Tears of Laughter.” Still others lusciously combine food and love: you can use porcupine stew to seduce a neighbor, or a caramel berlingot to poison a faithless lover. The trick, in food as in writing, is to do it with taste.
“These compelling stories provide rare glimpses into the customs and traditions of what is certainly one of the world’s most beloved cuisines. I found them intriguing and insightful, and anyone with an interest in food and France will find these intimate glimpses as fascinating as I did.” —David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris
“I can’t think of better companion for trip to France, armchair or otherwise.” —Devon Shepherd, MostlyFiction.com
“Food is more than sustenance. French Feast: A Traveler’s Literary Companion is a collection of contemporary literature surrounding the fine dishes of France, in ways that one would never expect. Food is a major force in life, and William Rodarmor compiles this collection to show that that it is a major force in writing as well. French Feast is insightful and a must-read for anyone with a love of international literature as well as French cuisine.” —Midwest Book Review
Table of content will be available soon.
Contributors: Christiane Baroche, Calixthe Beyala, Philippe Claudel, Albert Cohen, Mariette Condroyer, Philipe Delerm, Maryline Desbiolles, Henri Duvernois, Cyrille Fleischman, Pascal Garnier, Michèle Gazier, Laurent Graff, Roger Grenier, Joseph Incardona, Claire Julier, Anthony Palou, Martin Provost, Fabrice Pataut, Chantal Pelletier, Jacques Perret, Claude Pujade-Renaud, Alina Reyes, Nadine Ribault, Marie Rouanet, Annie Saumont, Dominique Sylvain, Tiffany Tavernier, Michel Tournier, Tranh Van Tran Nhut
William Rodarmor (1942– ) is a journalist, editor, and French literary translator. His translation of Tamata and the Alliance, by famed sailor Bernard Moitessier, won the 1996 Lewis Galantière Award from the American Translators Association. Recent translations include France: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (Whereabouts Press, 2008), Julien Parme, by Florian Zeller (Other Press, 2008), and The Book of Time trilogy by Guillaume Prévost (Scholastic, 2007-09). Rodarmor splits his time between Berkeley, California, and New York City.
Jean Anderson teaches French at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Since taking up literary translation in 2004, she has published over one hundred short prose works, four books translated from French to English and five cotranslated from English to French. She is the founding director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, launched with an anthology of translated prose pieces from more than twenty countries and a dozen languages into New Zealand English, entitled Been There, Read That! Stories for the Armchair Traveller (2008).
Sarah Ardizzone (née Sarah Hamp Adams) won the 2007 Scott-Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Faïza Guène’s Just Like Tomorrow and the Marsh Prize in 2005 for Daniel Pennac’s Eye of the Wolf and in 2009 for Timothée de Fombelle’s Toby Alone. She specializes in translating urban slang, and has spent time in Marseille picking up North African back slang. She lives in Britain and is active in translation and school programs there.
Mara Bertelsen has translated The Cuttlefish, by Maryline Desbiolles, Tomato Sauce Love by Sylvie Nicolas, and Cocoa and Vanilla, the Black Gold of Madagascar, by Ingrid Astiers. She earned her master’s degree in Translation Studies from the University of Ottawa, Canada, with a focus on culinary translation, and received the Pierre Daviault Award for translation excellence. She lives and works in sunny Provence, where she is also active in local theater.
David Coward’s translation ofBelle du Seigneur, by Albert Cohen, won the Scott-Moncrieff Prize for Translation in 1996. Coward teaches at the University of Leeds and contributes to the literary pages of magazines and newspapers. He has translated the Marquis de Sade, Guy de Maupassant, Molière, Diderot, Alexandre Dumas (fils), and most recently, the novel Waltenberg, by Hédi Kaddour (2010).
Jen Craddock translated Calixthe Beyala’s novel Comment cuisiner son mari à l’africaine (How to Cook Your Husband the African Way) as part of her master’s degree program in literary translation through the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. A journalist by trade, she has worked mainly as a radio producer and museum writer.
Rose Vekony translates scholarly and literary texts from French and Spanish. A certified member of the American Translators Association, she is an editor at the University of California Press.
David Watson studied languages at Cambridge University and continued his studies at Manchester. In addition to The Butcher and Behind Closed Doors by Alina Reyes and books by Agota Kristof, he also translated André Gide’s famous 1902 novel The Immoralist. He is the author of Paradox and Desire in Samuel Beckett’s Fiction (1991).
FRENCH FEAST: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
From The Panda Theory, by Pascal Garnier
Mathieu had eaten an armoire, the one his wife died in. She’d been suffocated by her furs when the door accidentally closed on her. Mathieu had been hopelessly in love with his wife. Wild with grief, he held the piece of furniture responsible and swore that he would eat it, right down to its last leg. It had taken him years, but chip by chip, splinter by splinter, he had devoured the entire thing. Every morning, he would cut off a piece with a pocket knife and chew it with the tenacity that only a thwarted love could sustain. The armoire was a Louis-Philippe, in mahogany. In just two years he had already eaten a door.
Posted on 16 July 2010