“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” —Auntie Mame
In print, FW, the unnamed freelance Food Writer of Nancy Spiller’s sardonic debut novel Entertaining Disasters, lives high on the food chain in the heady realm of L.A.’s culinary journalism scene. She waxes poetic about her hip home gatherings, thinly veiling the identities of her Hollywood guest list. But in reality, FW’s been inventing the dinner parties she writes about because social paralysis sets in at the very thought of a real guest in her fabulous—or is it shabby?—hillside home. She’s gotten away with her inventions for a decade because in L.A., nobody cares; the gastronomic dream machine that sustains her private world is not a “three picture deal.” Enter the glossy food magazine editor, new to town, who wants an invitation to one of her bashes, and the panic-stricken journey from fantasy hostess to reality bites is on.
This book—at turns whimsical and deeply affecting—chronicles the struggle FW faces in the week before she hosts her first real dinner party in ages as her estranged sister threatens to drop by, her husband takes off, and her house implodes. In the way of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, Nancy Spiller’s book is filled with the fabulous culinary lore and delicious sounding recipes that have made FW’s writing such popular foodie manna. Now all she has to do is somehow bring this fantasy world into workaday reality.
Welcome a writer of great wit and depth, who examines the history of domestic science even as she allows her protagonist to face the ghosts that haunt her own psychic kitchen.