Amazing Disgrace

( 1 )


"Imagine a British John Waters crossed with David Sedaris."-The New York Times Book Review

Set both in Tuscany and in the trendy haunts of London, this hilarious sequel to the popular Cooking with Fernet Branca is further evidence of Hamilton-Paterson's wit and comic inventiveness. The inimitable Gerald Samper is back, with his musings on the absurdities of modern life and his entertaining asides during which he comments on everything from publishing to penile implants, ...

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Amazing Disgrace

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"Imagine a British John Waters crossed with David Sedaris."-The New York Times Book Review

Set both in Tuscany and in the trendy haunts of London, this hilarious sequel to the popular Cooking with Fernet Branca is further evidence of Hamilton-Paterson's wit and comic inventiveness. The inimitable Gerald Samper is back, with his musings on the absurdities of modern life and his entertaining asides during which he comments on everything from publishing to penile implants, celebrity sportswomen to Australian media moguls. Plus, there's his marvelously eccentric recipes. A smart literary romp featuring a cavalcade of misadventures and memorable characters.

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Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
Who should read this book? If you're filled with lofty ideals and ambition and a strong sense of right and wrong, Amazing Disgrace will probably offend you. If you're far enough along in life (and I don't mean old!) that 99 percent of the human condition seems like God's Own Little Joke, pick this up for some well-earned consolation.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This stylishly funny follow-up to Cooking with Fernet-Branca continues the story of Gerald Samper, the English ghostwriter of exuberant sports and media autobiographies. It's a couple of years later, and Samper, still at his Tuscan retreat, is bereft of the hard-won intimacy of his Voynovian neighbor Marta, who has mysteriously disappeared. He consoles himself with penile enhancers and with such dishes as vindaloo blancmange ("an intriguing marriage of the incandescent and the gelid"). Meanwhile, celebrated one-armed yachtswoman Millie Cleat beckons; she wants Samper's help in rendering her more spiritual side in print. And Samper's chain-smoking agent back in London, Frankie, wouldn't mind a subject with more clout perhaps the great orchestra conductor Max Christ? Shuttling from Tuscany to London and back again, dining with the likes of Cooking's Nanty (the leader of a superfabulous newly New Age boy band), Samper (as he calls himself) must also deal with a tremendous problem related to those penile enhancers one even more outsized than Millie Cleat's ego. Recipes for badger and "Death Roe" are sprinkled throughout this charming comedy, sophisticated in the manner of a Peter Sellers romp, with a little Mel Brooks for good measure. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This sequel to Hamilton-Paterson's Cooking with Fernet Brancacontinues the humorous trials and tribulations of British ghostwriter Gerald Samper. Gerald, who would rather be writing a serious biography of a notable music figure, instead ghostwrites for popular sports figures to maintain his expatriate life in the mountains of Italy. A gritty, one-armed grandma who broke the speed record for sailing around the world has caught the fancy of the sporting crowd, and her publisher wants a book out in time for the Christmas season. In the process of gathering information for the book from celebrated yachtswoman Millie Cleat, Gerald has developed an acute aversion to his client. So he is dismayed to hear that she is not happy with his manuscript and wants to meet with him about revisions. To add to his troubles, Gerald has played a practical joke on Millie that has taken on a life of its own. Gerald's musings are interspersed with unusual recipes, most of which are hilarious in and of themselves. Entertaining and provocative, absurd and thoughtful, this book shines with quirky characters that will remind readers of people they've met; recommended.
—Joanna M. Burkhardt
Kirkus Reviews
A British satirical novel skewers celebrity autobiographies, environmental activism and the idyllic life in Tuscany. Introduced previously, in Cooking with Fernet Branca (2004), Gerald Samper returns with his flamboyant wit and self-absorption undiminished. He also retains a flair for the offbeat recipe, instructing the reader on the preparation of Death Roe and Badger Wellington with hallucinogenic mushrooms. Samper's comic voice permeates and dominates this novel, where the other characters are mainly caricatures and the plot has a spirit of slapdash serendipity. Narrated in the present tense, as if Samper is experiencing as he is writing, the story concerns his latest ghostwriting project, Millie!, the memoir of a plucky, intrepid, one-armed grandmother who has set a record for sailing around the world ("single-handedly"). Though hailed as a heroine in her native Britain and throughout much of the nautical world, Millie Cleat is actually a foul-mouthed, difficult woman who has a penchant for leaving trouble in her wake. Samper must mediate between the truth as he sees it and the story Millie wants told. He also must do his best to torpedo the possibility of a sequel with this impossible woman. He's much more interested in another project, the biography of a gifted conductor, though the subject is reluctant and the commercial prospects aren't nearly as great. Subplots include Samper's experimentation with male enhancement pills and the hilariously embarrassing consequences, and the mystery of the disappearance of his neighbor in Tuscany, which inspires all sorts of observations about the cutthroat Tuscan real-estate market and those who succumb to this fantasy of the good life. For aman of such refined sensibility, Samper suffers through a series of disgraces concerning bodily functions. The plot reaches its improbable climax at his 50th birthday party, though he has insisted that he's just on the cusp of 40. Whatever the novel lacks in terms of literary depth or character development it makes up for in laughs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372198
  • Publisher: Europa
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Series: Gerald Samper Series , #2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 834,028
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

James Hamilton-Paterson's first novel, Gerontius, won the Whitbread Award. He is an acclaimed author of nonfiction books, including Seven-Tenths, Three Miles Down and Playing with Water. He currently lives in Italy.
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