Great title, eh? I have had the novel, a gift from the blog inspiration, for a long time and have finally read it. It took me quite some time to read, which is part of how I know it was a really good novel. The author? N.M. Kelby. The title? Yes -- it is White Truffles in Winter.
In many ways, many ways, this book is about food. The central character is Escoffier. And alongside him are his wife of many years, and then his flirtation (or more) Sarah Bernhardt, and a look alike servant many years later. The tale tells of recipes -- and whether or how one might create them to honor others. How does one, truly, honot love across decades or more? Can one make a dish that says that, or is that somehow trivializing things? And, all this, circuling around the cretaor of many dishes, named for or about many famous people. There are tidbots of history, of fortunes made and lost, of eggs and geese, and menus. (Many menus.) And, it is about love -- reflecting on it across a life time, as Escoffier writes his memoir.
The wife, a poet, is named Delphine Daffis. No, I had never heard of her before. Somehow the food artist outlived (at least for me) the word artist. Though, the ovelist who write White Truffles in Winter seems, quietly, to argue they belong together. And, when one googles Delphine, only Auguste Escoffier comes up. Alas.
The novel inspires adjectives -- one review said opulent, another languid. I do not have the words, but reading the book, slowly, was the right thing to do. It was, like many dishes, not to be rushed in the reading, as many are not to be rushed in the cooking. The characteris fade in and out of view. The tastes are brought forward and drift backward. It is a novel that is worth lingering over, like a long and wonderful meal.
The book is reflective in some ways, and journeys across time and place with a combination of nostalgia and regret and thoughtfulness that one wishes to have about one's own life. (Until, that is, one crashes up against the many ways the memoirist deceives himself and others. Kelby is wonderful in her sleights of hand.)
I recommend this book highly. Have you read it? Let us know.