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Liquor

Liquor

(2004)
(A book in the John Rickey and Gary 'G-man' Stubbs series)
A novel by

 
Publisher's Weekly
As much a love letter to the Big Easy as it is to the demanding (and sometimes debauched) lifestyle of a chef, horror maven Brite's (Lost Souls) first foray into the trendy genre of foodie lit is a winsome entree. New Orleans natives and lovers John Rickey and Gary "G-man" Stubbs, affable characters from Brite's recent coming-of-age/coming-out tale The Value of X, decide to capitalize on Rickey's brainchild of opening a restaurant with a "whole menu based on liquor." Word passes through the gossipy Nola restaurant scene that two up-and-comers have a hot concept but no money, and soon enough, Rickey and G-man find themselves backed by celebrity chef Lenny Duveteaux, known as "the Nixon of the New Orleans restaurant world" for his habit of taping his phone conversations. At first doubtful of Lenny's motives, the two come to regard him as a mentor even as they question some of his choices. In one of the many conflicts that Brite embroils her main characters (all of which are fun but not too convincing), the yats (colloquial for natives) have to fend off increasingly threatening actions from Rickey's former boss, cokehead Mike Mouton, while experimenting with dishes like white rum-laced fettuccine Alfredo and veal kidneys la liegeoise. Although Brite rolls her eyes aplenty at the silly dramas and pretensions inherent in any urban restaurant scene, her affection for it is heartfelt. The plot is pretty boilerplate, but Brite's characters are as refreshingly unpretentious as a healthy helping of comfort food.
Forecast: Brite's Lost Souls was a goth favorite, and while it's hard to imagine many horror aficionados savoring her latest tack, there's enough spice here to satisfy less hardcore fans. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Famed stylist Brite (Lost Souls, 1992) abandons the horror field to follow her bliss into a mainstream novel set in the food world and restaurants of her adopted home, New Orleans. Most recently (Plastic Jesus, 2000), Brite took on John Lennon and Paul McCartney as alter egos for her heroes, but her style had none of the soaring excess that powers her best work, nor was she up to finding prose equal to the Beatles' sublimity, as she was able for R.Crumb's penwork and Charlie Parker's bop sax in Drawing Blood. Exquisite Corpse was a splatterpunk stunt. Aside from descriptions of original alcohol-soaked viands, this outing finds Brite restrained to bloodlessness. Two gay cooks, Rickey and G-man, who've been best friends since childhood and now live together, drink together, and often work together in kitchens of varied New Orleans restaurants, aspire to open their own restaurant and present a cuisine whose every dish is laced, soaked, spiced or in some way flavored with fine liquors. The restaurant's name: Liquor. This offers Brite some fancy moments, as in describing a tender (nonalcoholic) Gulf shrimp appetizer "spiked with tasso ham, tossed in a spicy beurre blanc, set atop a pool of five-pepper jelly, and garnished with pickled okra. The dish had a bright, complex flavor: first you tasted the sweetness of the shrimp and butter, then the gastrique's sourness and the tart burn of the peppers." The author brings more energy to her cooking, though, than to her plot, which turns on the two lads being backed by high-roller Lenny Duveteaux, who may have crooked reasons for backing them. One waits for a Mafia tie to rise up and add some oregano to the French cuisine. But it's not forthcoming,and we're left with a villain who is a cokehead chef who hates Rickey, wants to do him in, but fails in villainous brilliance. Showy, but seldom the great Balzac Ian roars of kitchen hell.

 
Used availability for Poppy Z Brite's Liquor


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Paperback Editions

March 2004 : USA Paperback
Title: Liquor: A Novel
Author(s): Poppy Z Brite
ISBN: 1-4000-5007-3 / 978-1-4000-5007-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Broadway Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

April 2010 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
Title: Liquor: A Novel
Author(s): Poppy Z Brite
Publisher: Crown
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


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