Elza's Kitchen

Elza's Kitchen

5.0 1
by Marc Fitten
     
 

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For years, Elza has gotten by. A divorcee out of culinary school, she started her own little restaurant in the mid-size Hungarian city of Delibab, and shes grown a decent business, cooking quality versions of Hungarian classics and serving them with a smile. But lately her smile has gotten tired. Her loveless affair with her sous-chef has

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Overview



For years, Elza has gotten by. A divorcee out of culinary school, she started her own little restaurant in the mid-size Hungarian city of Delibab, and shes grown a decent business, cooking quality versions of Hungarian classics and serving them with a smile. But lately her smile has gotten tired. Her loveless affair with her sous-chef has become an irritation. Shes getting sick of the same old dishes and the same old customers. And in these nascent years of capitalism, it will take some competition - both personal and professional - to make her see that her restaurant, and her happiness, are worth fighting for.
Marc Fitten fell in love with Hungary after years spent living there, and his second novel is a celebration of its culture and cuisine, as well as a portrait of a woman and her country in transition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fitten’s witty second novel (after Valeria’s Last Stand) will leave mouths watering and tears streaming, all for the sake of food and love. Divorcée Elza owns a little restaurant in postcommunist Hungary. She’s in a dead-end relationship with the Sous-Chef, restless and dissatisfied, and desperate for the Critic to visit, taste her marvelous pork tenderloin, and nominate her for the coveted Silver Ladle award. She entreats two friends, the Professor of Sauces and the Professor of Meats, to persuade the Critic to give her a shot. Her failed relationship with the Sous-Chef, combined with the Critic’s late, drunken arrival, and a violent incident with a trio of loitering Gypsy children cause everything to unravel. Elza must rebuild not just her business but her life. Fitten, having lived in Hungary for several years, paints a vivid and charming picture of life in the country. While Elza’s story is an easy and engaging read, Fitten also manages to subtly track the progress of a nation and its people—specifically its women (they’re the only ones given proper names)—as they pursue a better life. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608197903
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn in 1974 and lived in Hungary from 1993-1998. He has been published in several American literary quarterlies and publications and is the editor of the Chattahoochee Review and of the Red Hen Press Literary Translation Series. Marc Fittens first novel, Valerias Last Stand, was published in six countries. He lives in Atlanta
Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn in 1974 to Panamanian parents. He spent much of the 1990s living and travelling in Europe, based in Hungary. Hes been published in Prairie Schooner, The Louisville Review, and the Hogtown Creek Review, and has published a napkin online at Esquire. Marc is a PhD student at Georgia State University and received the Paul Bowles Fellowship for Fiction. He is currently the editor of The Chattahoochee Review, Atlantas oldest journal.

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Elza's Kitchen: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadingRightNow More than 1 year ago
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.