Reservations Recommended

Reservations Recommended

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by Eric Kraft
     
 

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Reservations Recommended is many things: a satire of the critical mind; a dark commentary on contemporary culture; a story of midlife crisis; a morality play; and a book that matches bleakness against humor with a grace rare among contemporary writers. Matthew Barber is a pseudonymous Boston restaurant reviewer who between (and sometimes during) meals atSee more details below

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Overview

Reservations Recommended is many things: a satire of the critical mind; a dark commentary on contemporary culture; a story of midlife crisis; a morality play; and a book that matches bleakness against humor with a grace rare among contemporary writers. Matthew Barber is a pseudonymous Boston restaurant reviewer who between (and sometimes during) meals at local eateries conducts affairs with ladies of his acquaintance -- affairs mental as much as carnal. We watch as Barber descends from his self-protective superiority into a species of madness, careening toward an ending of stark moral ambiguity. Woven throughout with Barber's own hilariously acid reviews, Reservations Recommended is Eric Kraft's most fearless venture into the dark night of the soul.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the protagonist of this novel, 43-year-old Matthew Barber, a recently divorced toy company executive who's also an undercover restaurant critic, Kraft examines a more constricted world than he did in the effervescent Herb 'n' Lorna. Matthew haunts the dining establishments of Boston--often in the company of girlfriend Belinda--and, as B. W. Beath, writes sardonic reviews for a trendy local paper. Although he's successful in both lines of work and enjoys uninhibited, frequent sex with Belinda, the failure of his marriage (and a childhood as a fat boy) have left Matthew with serious self-doubts. In chapters organized around restaurant visits and capped by reviews, Kraft charts the collapse of Matthew's habitual timidity (kept in place with assorted macho fantasies) under the louder and louder blandishments of his alter ego B.W. Kraft's observant eye, his sure approach to sex, his wit--Matthew deplores what he calls his adequacy complex--are here, but the inventiveness that lifted his earlier work out of the ordinary isn't. Heed the title. (May)
Library Journal
In real life Matthew Barber is a successful toy company executive who entertains his casual lover in a penthouse apartment with a splendid view of a ghetto. After hours, he is Bertram W. (BW) Heath, his pseudonymous, supercilious alter ego, restaurant reviewer for trendy Boston Biweekly. At heart he's still the lonely, humiliated fat boy he once was, suffering the middle-aged male fear of never rising above the level of adequate, and still longing--against logic--for his ex-wife to come back. Each chapter centers on a dining experience, concluded with a BW review, in crisp prose which parodies reviews and restaurants in particular and modern urban life in general. Most of this book is such a reading pleasure that readers may find themselves doling out chapters as if they were a favorite food. But humiliation spawns violence, and the comedy turns black, as Kraft ( Herb 'n' Lorna , LJ 4/1/88) makes a final comment on the contemporary scene.-- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
"Shrewd, adroit, and spirited."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Janice Harayda
"A merciless sendup of contemporary American pretensions.'
The Village Voice - Richard Gehr
"Wonderfully readable . . . touching and intelligent."
The Boston Phoenix - Robert Nadeau
"Hilariously on the mark, . . . witty enough to steal."
Newark Star Ledger - Roger Harris
"A moving urban fable."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517572337
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/20/1990
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
277

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