Fiction Last Banquet Grimwood Omnivore

Published on August 18th, 2013


The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

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Blurb: We meet Jean-Marie d’Aumout as a penniless orphan eating beetles by the side of a road. His fate is changed after an unlikely encounter finds him patronage and he is sent to military academy. Despite his lowly roots, and thanks to wit and courage in great measure, he grows up to become a diplomat and spy. Passion, political intrigue and international adventure abound in Jean-Marie’s life, yet his drive stems from a single obsession: the pursuit of the perfect taste. Three-Snake Bouillabaisse, Pickled Wolf’s Heart and Flamingo Tongue are just some of the delicacies he devours on his journey toward the ultimate feast. Rising through the ranks of eighteenth-century French society, he feasts with lords, ladies and eventually kings, at the Palace of Versailles itself. But beyond the palace walls, revolution is in the air and the country is clamouring with hunger of a different kind. (Canongate, 2013)

David Barnett, The Independent

The Last Banquet is an astonishing, sensual feast which will appeal to those who enjoyed Patrick Susskind’s Perfume. And as comparisons are odious, so are categorisations. Is Grimwood an SF or a literary author? It doesn’t matter. He’s a damned fine writer, and with The Last Banquet, it feels like Grimwood has cut loose and written the book he was always meant to, with equal parts lush, sumptuous prose, convincing historical seasoning, and a cast of believable, human characters which will leave you sated and satisfied. Tastes like awesome.”

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Jake Kerridge, The Daily Express

“Jonathan Grimwood is a newcomer to the literary scene in name only, as he has been writing fantasy and sci-fi as Jon Courtenay Grimwood for many years. This new novel is meant to be a departure, being more or less realistic, but it does have a fairytale feel, as when the young Jean-Marie, who comes from an impoverished family of minor nobles, wins the love of a wealthy duke’s daughter by rescuing her from a wolf (a recipe for pickled wolf’s heart inevitably follows). There is a delicacy and accuracy to Grimwood’s prose that is perfectly suited to writing about food. It works for people too.

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Kathy Stevenson, The Daily Mail

“Told from the viewpoint of the elderly Jean-Marie as revolution is sweeping France, Jonathan Grimwood’s latest novel is intriguing, fanciful, philosophical and told with an admirable lightness of touch. It is well worth the short time it will take to devour.”

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