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Entertaining Disasters

List Price: $14.95

January 6, 2009 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 336 pages | ISBN 9781582434513
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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. Enter the glossy food magazine editor, new in town, who wants an invitation to one of her bashes, and the panic-stricken journey from fantasy hostess to reality bites is on.
Entertaining Disasters–at turns whimsical and deeply affecting–chronicles the struggle FW faces in the week before she hosts her first real dinner party in ages. At the same time, her estranged sister threatens to drop by, her husband takes off, and her house implodes. In the way of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, Spiller’s book is filled with the fabulous culinary lore and delicious-sounding recipes that have made FW’s writing such popular foodie mania. Now all she has to do is somehow bring this fantasy world into workaday reality.

About Nancy Spiller

Nancy Spiller is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. A fourth generation Californian and native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she was a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and editor at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times,, Cooking Light and Town & Country. She is the author of Entertaining Disasters: A Novel (With Recipes) and teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.


"[Entertaining Disasters] is an extended brood on food, love, family, and the exhausting rat race of L.A. . . . it offers sharp, startling observations in a unique and very human voice." --Elle

"This zany novel (with recipes) will make you appreciate your own fallen souffles that much more." --Redbook

"With deftness and wit, Nancy Spiller delivers needle-sharp insights into middle-class life and marriage, while portraying the dissolution of a family and the rise of longing for a culinary salvation." --Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black

"Cooking, we begin to see, allows FW to do what her family could not--meld warring ingredients into a harmonious whole. The looming dinner party is her bid for psychic as well as social redemption . . . Entertaining Disasters offers memoir's most potent pairing: the child's eye, sensual and vindictive, with the grown-up's aching heart . . . it's a testament to Spiller's skill as a narrator that tragedy and comedy begin to seem like a natural couple and that feeding a gathering of friends is the ultimate modern ordeal." --Ariel Swartley, Los Angeles Magazine

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