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am 21. Juli 1997
Yes, our narrator is droll. Yes, he's possessed of more knowledge than the staffs of Encyclopedia Britannica and the Library of Congress put together. And he's witty, too.

But he's an icicle. His chill is at first refreshing, but then numbing. Through all the recipes, through all the elitist opinions on absolutely everything (many of which are piercing and hilarious both) he remains below freezing. And he drops hints about his psychopathic activities so loudly they'd wake his murdered victims. The cultured killer is far from a novel concept, and hardly concept enough for a novel. All right already, some killers are well-educated and charming. I kept wondering, what does our narrator care for? What drives him, what is he fighting for? But he remained so wholly impenetrable, so completely without a human inner life, that boredom fell upon me. The effort to discern the vaguest of human qualities in our narrator having all but exhausted me, I turned to the other people he observes. Needless to say, the clinical precision with which he views the world leaves those in his sight devoid of warmth.

One could get the same impression left by this book in a fraction of the time by listening to "Murder by Numbers" by the Police on their album "Synchronicity." To the point, clever, and great cymbal-work by Copeland.

Alternately, you could take the advice of the Talking Heads:

Psycho killer . . .
Run run run, run run run away.
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 22. März 2013
Na ja, bei allem Sinn für Ironie und Doppelbödigkeit: Das höchst bemühte Streben nach sophistication und das ( wenn auch gelegentlich selbstironisch gebrochene) name-dropping mit den Größen französischer Kultur wirkt trotz der anregenden Einbeziehung der dortigen gastronomischen Verfeinerungen in der durchgängigen Verdichtung zunehmend nervig. Verführt durch Lanchaster großartiges "Capital" habe ich mir dieses Frühwerk angetan - Gott sei Dank hat der Autor mittlerweile sehr viel gelernt.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 19. August 1999
John Lanchaster's debut, A Debt to Pleasure, is one of a number of food-related novels to appear on national bestseller lists recently. While professional reviews were overwhelmingly laudatory, public reaction to the difficult book was more of a love/hate affair. Maybe the esoteric vocabulary and arrogant nature of Lanchaster's irrepressible narrator, Tarquin Winot, targets the reviewers insecurity by appealing to the genius-envy we all live with. Or perhaps those in the industry who were confused by certain features of the novel (like frequent and seemingly endless parentheticals which purposefully lead the reader careening down other avenues of thought, until stupefied, they realize guiltily that they are lost in the words) felt too baffled to issue forth a criticism. Whatever the case, a dictionary and a reading environment free from distraction are recommended. Throughout the book, the narrator's sanctimonious musings leap aggressively between the classic subjects of history, art and (of course) cuisine. Themes are tied together as our anti-hero prepares, contemplates, and consumes carefully considered gourmet meals while on a car tour of the French countryside. Aspects of each meal inevitably provide Winot with yet another piece of evidence to reaffirm his superiority over the rest of humanity. Every step of the way, we consider his thought provoking, if not psychotic, perspectives on subjects as far-ranging as the importance of a balanced breakfast and the inevitability of murder. The biting, comic, tone of Winot's commentary on the world around him brings to mind a similarly misguided protagonist: Ignatius J. Reilly of John Kennedy Toole's masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces. To be sure, both books share a tragi-comic impending sense of doom, perhaps meant to leave the reader feeling uneasy -- wondering what sort of person he or she has become to be smiling in the midst of such truly unpleasant commentary. A murderous past and deplorable intentions surface as the novel progresses, and one eerily feels an implicit warning of the real and present danger lurking menacingly in the mind of every true elitist. By the end of the book, Tarquin Winot's treacherous sophistication reminds us of another high-culture psychopath -- the great Hannibal Lecter. The avid reader is sure to be impressed by Lanchaster's debut effort, and his skill as a writer cannot be overstated. The most educated culinarian will marvel at his profound appreciation for the culinary arts (he was once the restaurant critic for the London Observer) and the brilliant way in which he uses food as a medium to unravel Winot's sinister psychosis. With its meandering pace, though, and psychological detours, A Debt to Pleasure is not for everyone. It's not a page-turner to take you skipping away from everyday life, but rather (like a good meal), something to reflect on over time.
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am 18. März 1998
Though I enjoyed the author's descriptive style and it started with an interesting premise, my desire to read this book came to a grinding halt when the sub-plot entered the story and was never developed. I would have been more interested to read about his life as a killer, than to read the never ending descriptions in parentheses. I just became frustrated and had to force myself to finish the book.
An excellent idea that didn't quite hit the mark. It hasn't turned me off his work forever though, and I'll probably pick up his next book and see how it compares to his first attempt.
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am 19. Dezember 1999
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't find this book to be too wordy or difficult to read, but then I've traveled extensively in both England and France and have studied gourmet cooking, so maybe I have an advantage in this area. I thought Debt to Pleasure was simply delicious, a sheer delight. A character study par excellence. John Lanchester reveals his character's true personality little by little, delighting us more and more with each new piece of information. Sheer genius!
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am 25. August 1998
A treat for all senses! Lanchester's mastery of language, all things esoteric, the erogenous zones that are our taste buds...my only disappointment was that he decided to weave a plot into his masterfully sophisticated musings that, in my opinion, were enough in and of themselves! I will keep this book handy if for no other reason than to increase my vocabulary by looking up all of the wonderful words of which I have no clue what they mean! Thank you, Mr. Lanchester, for a book that gives me the same pleasure as opening a present each time I pick it up to read. TITLE:The Debt to Pleasure AUTHOR:John Lanchester, Nick Ullett (Narrator) CUSTOMER-ID:4938397 SOURCE:jknight@pubnetics.com EMAIL:jknight@pubnetics.com DISPLAY-EMAIL:no USER-LOCATION:Denver CO TIME:904014779 RATING:5 PRIORITY:2500 SUMMARY: REVIEW: A treat for all senses! Lanchester's mastery of language, all things esoteric, the erogenous zones that are our taste buds...my only disappointment was that he decided to weave a plot into his masterfully sophisticated musings that, in my opinion, were enough in and of themselves! I will keep this book handy if for no other reason than to increase my vocabulary by looking up all of the wonderful words of which I have no clue what they mean! Thank you, Mr. Lanchester, for a book that gives me the same pleasure as opening a present each time I pick it up to read. TITLE:The Debt to Pleasure AUTHOR:John Lanchester, Nick Ullett (Narrator) CUSTOMER-ID:4938397 SOURCE:jknight@pubnetics.com EMAIL:jknight@pubnetics.com DISPLAY-EMAIL:no USER-LOCATION:Denver CO TIME:904014779 RATING:5 PRIORITY:2500 SUMMARY: REVIEW: A treat for all senses! Lanchester's mastery of language, all things esoteric, the erogenous zones that are our taste buds...my only disappointment was that he decided to weave a plot into his masterfully sophisticated musings that, in my opinion, were enough in and of themselves! I will keep this book handy if for no other reason than to increase my vocabulary by looking up all of the wonderful words of which I have no clue what they mean! Thank you, Mr. Lanchester, for a book that gives me the same pleasure as opening a present each time I pick it up to read.
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am 19. November 1998
I said to a friend of mine who wanted me to read this book, but was unwilling to reveal its true nature. While the thought of reading a cookbook did not appeal to me, he insisted and I'm glad he did-- certainly this is one of the best modern novels I have read. The plot flies shockingly out of nowhere, and Tarquin Winot is one of the most purely evil characters I have ever enountered in a work of literature. Outside the plot structure, Winot's clever observations on everything he mentions provide sufficient entertainment in themselves. The Debt to Pleasure is an impressively constructed novel.
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am 10. April 1999
I read an excerpt from this novel in Granta and couldn't wait to read the rest! It is not for everyone-- if you don't like stories that stray from the conventional chronological narrative or you are a black and white moralist, skip it. This book is very well written, clever and witty. Lanchester's use of language is a treat. I am on-line buying another copy because I lent mine to a friend and she has not returned it. I plan to read it again to get another dose of Tarquin Winot!
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am 27. Juli 1998
Despite being about one of my most favourite subjects, Lanchester's latest work was much work indeed. I tend to consume books in bits and pieces, often leaving the story on a table for days on end before returning. Not easy with A Debt to Pleasure, as it requires constant attention. Nonetheless, John produced some good (if not wordy) writing and insight into something we all like and need - food.
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am 1. Februar 1999
The Debt To Pleasure is perhaps the strongest argument that I have ever read for culinary elitism. Captivating from page one, the drawn-out sentences that border on insanity pull together one of the finest pieces of fiction that I have ever read. If you love literature, food, and/or France, you will be doing yourself a favor to read this first novel by John Lanchester.
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