- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted July 15, 2012
Marc Fitten's latest book follows the title's character, Elza, as she prepares her restaurant for a visit from a prominent food critic. Elza's convinced that this visit and the recognition she is sure to receive are just what her restaurant needs to lift itself and her from middle-age doldrums.
This theme of women facing the challenges of aging will be familiar to readers of Fitten's first book, Valeria's Last Stand. As in his earlier book, the time and place are post-communist Hungary. Just as the nation is energized by the financial opportunity and growth brought by capitalism, the characters in this novel each embrace change in their own way but not always according to plan. Fitten does a wonderful job of providing the internal dialogue of several characters, letting us see their struggle from different points of view. The tale is tightly written and a quick read. However, since I have no real knowledge of the region or it's struggles after the fall of communism, I wish that Fitten spent more time telling readers about Hungary's people, landscape, and political struggles. He chose to place both his novels in Hungary, but the tales could well be located in any country facing economic change.
I highly recommend Elza's Kitchen to readers looking for a small, well-written book by a new author. Like eating in an upscale restaurant, however, you may wish the portions were just a bit bigger.
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