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What has happened to Bret Easton Ellis ego? Why does Ferran Adrià reject the gastronomy its said he invented? Who was the novelist that punched her poet husband in the face? Why is David Sedaris broken in the wrong way? When is it comforting to eat spleen? In Magical Narcissism, award-winning Canadian journalist and critic Shaun Smith investigates all these questions and many others as he pursues his two great loves: books and food.
In dozens of pieces, Smith tackles works by such luminaries as Steve Martin, Joan Didion, Douglas Coupland, Iain Banks, Christopher Hitchens, Heston Blumenthal, Susur Lee, Jennifer McLagan, Bonnie Stern, Jeffrey Steingarten, and A.A. Gill. He takes us to pig roasts in southern Ontario and northern Spain. He wonders why people want books defaced by author autographs. He sings the praises of invention. And he laments a dearth of donuts.
Sometimes caustic, sometimes celebratory, always entertaining, the works in this volume represent the best from fifteen years of writing for such outlets as the The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Quill & Quire, and many others. Books and food are not really so disparate, writes Smith both provide sustenance and, if you’re lucky, gratification, and both can—and in my case usually do—elicit strong opinion.
Shaun Smith is a novelist and award-winning journalist in Toronto, Canada. His young-adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in 2009. As a journalist he has published hundreds of articles and reviews on books, food and other subjects with such publications as The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Toronto Life, Quill & Quire, Chatelaine, and ELLE Canada. A former chef, he cooked in such noted kitchens as Scaramouche, The Senator, The Rosedale Diner, and David Wood Food Shop. Since 1995 he has worked widely as a book reviewer and publishing commentator, and also as a cookbook columnist, food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook reviewer. In April 2011, he was inducted as a Fellow into the Ontario Hostelry Institute in recognition of his work as a food writer, book reviewer and commentator. Hervé This is a chemist who works for the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique at AgroParisTech in Paris, France, whose main area of scientific research is molecular gastronomy. He is the author of numerous scientific publications and several books on the subject.