Last week I reviewed Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals. It’s been one of my favourite books this year (up there with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and The Goldfinch). However, Unsworth’s debut novel was Hungry, The Stars and Everything and it has a food theme – I know, right? How did it escape my attention until now?!
Here’s how it begins –
“I was eleven years old when I realised what I wanted most out of life: More. This epiphany came at around 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, 1991. I checked my too-tight cartoon wristwatch, a present from my brother (bought by my mother) two Christmases ago, and then I silently made my way downstairs, holding my breath and stepping on the outer edges of the stairs to avoid the creaks.
To put it simply, I was fed up with being good. It felt as though everywhere I went – school, church, even sitting around the dinner table – I was being judged by everyone around me, mostly by teachers and parents, but sometimes by other children, too. It was though I always had to be on my guard, always watching what I said, how I stood, or used my fork. The scrutiny was almost unbearable.”
It’s worth noting that the chapters are arranged as a menu beginning with vintage champagne and green tea shrimp with nano-lime, to a deconstructed Lancashire hotpot and roast pheasant with spiced prune mincemeat, and finishing with a 25 year old Glenmorangie scotch and rosemary truffles. Needless to say this book is so far up my alley that regardless of what anyone thinks, I’ll be reading it.
Does it appeal to you? Do you go on ‘author binges’ (where you read one book by an author and then read everything they’ve ever written)?
Join in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday over at Bibliophile by the Sea.