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The Last Banquet

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Set against the backdrop of the Enlightenment, the delectable decadence of Versailles, and the French Revolution, The Last Banquet is an intimate epic that tells the story of one man’s quest to know the world through its many and marvelous flavors. Jean-Marie d’Aumout will try anything once, with consequences that are at times mouthwatering and at others fascinatingly macabre (Three Snake Bouillabaisse anyone? Or perhaps some pickled Wolf's Heart?). When he is not obsessively searching for a new taste d’Aumout is a fast friend, a loving husband, a doting father, and an imaginative lover. He befriends Ben Franklin, corresponds with the Marquis de Sade and Voltaire, becomes a favorite at Versailles, thwarts a peasant uprising, improves upon traditional French methods of contraception, plays an instrumental role in the Corsican War of Independence, and constructs France’s finest menagerie. But d’Aumout’s every adventurous turn is decided by his at times dark obsession to know all the world’s flavors before that world changes irreversibly.

As gripping as Patrick Suskind’s Perfume, as gloriously ambitious as Daniel Kehlman’s Measuring the World, and as prize-worthy as Andrew Miller’s Pure, The Last Banquet is a hugely appealing novel about food and flavor, about the Age of Reason and the ages of man, and our obsessions and about how, if we manage to survive them, they can bequeath us wisdom and consolation in old age.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 05, 2013 – With his parents dead, young Jean-Marie d Aumont is found eating beetles on a dung heap and sent to a school for the sons of destitute nobles in Enlightenment-era France. He likes school fine, but he didn t mind the beetles either (brown are sour, black tasty), and as far as he s concerned, the most notable part of his rescue is the piece of Roquefort cheese he s given. Along with the beetles, the Roquefort sets d Aumont on the way to a career as gastronome, sensualist, and taster, a man who can determine what a woman s eaten recently by rolling a drop of her breast milk on his tongue. The book, ostensibly a memoir written as the French Revolution picks up speed, at the end of a long life, is leisurely but never dull. Watching d Aumont rise in the world he makes friends with sons of nondestitute nobles, marries for love, assembles the largest menagerie outside of Versailles, serves as the royal envoy to rebellious and proto-democratic Corsica, and learns how to make a really top-notch condom is full of pleasures (and recipes, for those wondering how to prepare, say, wolf s heart). Grimwood, a journalist and, under another name, the author of a good deal of genre fiction, has the gift of making a character s sensual pleasures as alive to the reader as to they are to him.
The Last Banquet
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Oct 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Europa
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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