This „Sommer Book“ recommendation is from Tess Lewis, a writer and translator from French and German, as well as co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee, a fellow at New York University’s Institute for the Humanities, and an advisory editor for the Hudson Review. ☀️ Her book tip is "Kochen im falschen Jahrhundert" by Teresa Präauer (Wallstein Verlag, 2023).
De gustibus, we’re told, non est disputandem, but Teresa Präauer’s witty, kaleidoscopic novel shows that taste is a very contentious topic, indeed. In the age of influencers and Instagram, the aspirational lifestyle has become an overinflated balloon, which Präauer punctures repeatedly over the course of two dozen overlapping, sometimes contradictory vignettes of a dinner party teetering on disaster. All the right elements are there—luxury brands mixed with flea-market finds, the star chef’s sumptuous cookbooks, the expensive dishtowel from Copenhagen—but the moving boxes are still unpacked long after the move and the guests show up late, having already eaten and tracking mud in. In one of the author’s many deft touches, the slyly sensuous episodes unfold to a subversive Spotify playlist: when one guest burns a hole through the Copenhagen dish towel, the Oscar Peter Trio plays Close Your Eyes, when another complains that there no more utopias, Miles Davis plays So What.
One way or another, we’re all cooking in the wrong century and out of that
disconnect—the gap between the lives we imagine (or that are imagined for us) and the way we live now— Teresa Präauer has created a feast.
Book Synopsis: Der Roman eines Abends und einer Einladung zum Essen. Voll mit Rezepten für ein gelungenes Leben und einen misslingenden Abend, der immer wieder neu ansetzt, schlau, witzig, heiter, gleichzeitig begleitet von den unterschwelligen oder ganz offen artikulierten Aggressionen der Beteiligten. (Wallstein Verlag, 2023)