“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Digested Read: EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert

Yep, it’s that time of the week again. Herewith be the latest in an increasingly improbable line of Digested Reads, aka the Book du Jour in 300 words. This week: EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert. To wit:

No one understood, y’see. I was married, I had a nice home, I was a successful New York-based writer. Ladies - how could I not be unhappy?
  I believe it all began with a conversation with ninth generation medicine man in Bali. “I’m very much afraid, Elizabeth,” he said, “that even primitive tribes know that the sun shines out of the East in the morning, as opposed to the fundament of any one puddle-shallow New Yorker who should spend some of her new book advance on a ladder and just get over herself.”
  Men, eh? But such ancient wisdom. How could I not divorce my beloved husband (oh, the sacrifice!) I’d been screwing around on and blow a book advance on a trip around the world in 80 prays?
  I could:
(a) make an Alp-sized dent in the EU food mountain in Italy;
(b) unfavourably compare my new muffin-belly with the skinny beggars and cripples of caste-ridden India;
(c) maybe score myself a Brazilian in Bali.
  A Brazilian man, ladies, not a wax (oh, the humanity!).
  So off I go to Rome to find myself, but lo! there’s no mirrors in Rome, so I have to be content with my reflection in the eyes of luscious Italian language tutor, Giovanni.
  “I don’t know how to be here,” I wailed whilst stuffing myself with deep-fried Marza Barz.
  “Erm, that-a doesn’t make-a sense-a in any language-a,” he flirted outrageously.
  Men, eh?
  They’re only after one thing.
  Pity I don’t have it.
  Still, upwards and onwards to an ashram in India for some spirituality that’s not even slightly a quick-fix superficial status symbol. I mean, I scrubbed actual floors (oh, The Oneness of All Things!).
  Okay. One floor. But a big-ish one.
  And so to Bali. Sun, sea and (lawks!) Brazilian factory owners.
  Okay. One Brazilian factory owner. But a big-ish one (fnarr).
  Men, eh?
  Where would a smart, educated, independent, successful, spiritually enlightened woman be without one?
  The End.

  The Digested Read, In One Line: What’s Eating Gilbert’s Grape?

  This feature first appeared in the Evening Herald