I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea. and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.
I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,
Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.
time spent in that before bed reading slot:
5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago 2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.
How are common themes handled?
5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power 4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates 1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.
Where would you keep it post-reading?
5-Next to my bed. 4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.
5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry. 3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.
Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):
5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy
Constitution of the Shadow Faculty of Gastronomic Science
Herein lie the immutable rules of the Shadow Faculty of Gastronomic Science:
All members must be fellows of St Jerome’s College, Oxford.
All members must ascribe to the gastronomic principles pronounced by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin1.
The Faculty must hold a dinner of gastronomic significance in the eighth week of each term.
Each member must invite one guest per dinner and ensure that their guest presents a new dish to the Faculty.
The Faculty must ensure that no dish is served more than once with the exception of a truffled turkey, which is to be served each year at the Michaelmas dinner.
A member of the Faculty is elected for life unless they breach rules one, two or four.
The Shadow Faculty will remain in existence until the University of Oxford inaugurates an official Faculty of Gastronomic Science.
And so begins our short, but unique novel. Think Flight Club without the blood, thrashings, and forced metaphors. There is a certain degree of the macabre, which is very much front and center to this novel, but is more of a landscape, compared to a figure situated towards the foreground. This is equally a character driven and plot driven novel.
The story revolves around the death of one of the group’s members, and weaves a tale of the ethical, moral, and personal reflections of entertaining the idea of cannibalism. The idea of consuming the flesh of ones’ own species is a profound issue, and it is clear from the beginning that each member of the Shadow Society is consumed by regret—of agreeing to the Will of one of its members—as well as the inner turmoil of considering this task, and perhaps their individual curiosity. They seem utterly vexed by the idea of the culinary contributions of human flesh. In the end themes of morality, ethics, as well as human curiosity neatly coalesces into a nice, if not also a forced ending.
Characters are developed well, however, secondary character specifically those of students of Oxford are rendered with a swift brush that at times leaves the reader craving for more. These under developed characters do get there time in the spotlight, as the various storylines seem to cross paths, however, this too seemed rushed; however one must also realize that this part of the story is so insignificant that it could be edited out without notice. However, on the flip side those smaller characters assist in the reader’s understanding of the context and setting of the Reluctant Cannibals. They also shine in adding to the complexities of class systems. To a certain extend they also dispel the notion that those in a lower class are less important; relegation to a lower class or professional position does not strip one of his/her ability to exercise intelligence nor does it eliminate the basic human attributes shared among everyone.
In the end the book shines with originality, as I have trouble reflecting on books that center around the tasting of human flesh SPECIFICALLY for culinary experimentation. I did feel that it could have either been straightened up with a clearer, less intellectualized style, and a few trimmings here and there, however, I highly recommend this book for its novel themes and subject matter.