"This is a breathtaking book, sensuously written, emotionally generous, and decadent as a bowl of macaroni and cheese."-- Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, and Ruth Reichl, Blue Plate Special (available now in hardcover; available in paperback May 6) is a narrative in which food--eating it, cooking it, reflecting on it--becomes the vehicle for unpacking a life. Christensen explores her history of hunger--not just for food but for love and confidence and a sense of belonging--with a profound honesty, starting with her unorthodox childhood in 1960s Berkeley as the daughter of a mercurial legal activist who ruled the house with his fists. After a whirlwind adolescent awakening, Christensen strikes out to chart her own destiny within the literary world and the world of men, both equally alluring and dangerous. Food of all kinds, from Ho Hos to haute cuisine, remains an evocative constant throughout, not just as sustenance but as a realm of experience unto itself, always reflective of what is going on in her life. She unearths memories--sometimes joyful, sometimes painful--of the love between mother and daughter, sister and sister, and husband and wife, and of the times when the bonds of love were broken. Food sustains her as she endures the pain of these ruptures and fuels her determination not to settle for anything less than the love and contentment for which she's always yearned.
"Blue Plate Special is the memoir of an utterly original thinker, a free-spirited gourmand, and a great American writer. It's an expert guide on inspiration, ingenuity, heartbreak, buoyancy, home, love, family, screwing up, bouncing back and perfecting the bacon-cheddar biscuit."--Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
Kate Christensen is the author of six novels, most recently The Astral. The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has published reviews and essays in numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, O, Elle, and Gilt Taste. She writes an occasional drinks column for The Wall Street Journal called "With a Twist." She blogs at www.katechristensen.wordpress.com.