EATING CAKE UNDERGROUND
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The meetings happen on Tuesdays, in the basement of Cafe Crocodile. They're at six o'clock sharp. To get there in time, Franca Engales Morales has to close up the bakery early. She has just under an hour to finish up the last cake, mop the floor, pull the grate. She's hurrying, tossing the cake's thick yellow batter with her big wooden spoon, blowing her bangs from her eyes. She swipes a finger in, licks it, decides to add poppy seeds, dumps in a generous sprinkle. Pulls her favorite Bundt pan - the red one with scalloped edges - works a slab of butter up the sides with her fingers. Then she pours in a layer of the yellow mix, which settles like mud. A layer of brown sugar and cinnamon, and then another layer of batter. Thirty-five minutes for the cake to bake, then she'll tuck a sheet of foil around its plate. She'll step out into what's left of the winter and there will be a pang in her chest as she clicks closed the oversize lock on the grate. She'll lose customers from closing early, she knows. And she can't afford to, she knows. But what are a few customers against the rest of it? Against what will be lost of she doesn't go to the meetings at all?Tuesday Nights in 1980
by Molly Prentiss
I don't know about you, but I want to know what those meetings are all about. After reading Ti's review, I downloaded this book from the library and am about to get started. New York City, art scene, 1980s? I'm sold. But in case you'd like more...
Here is the goodreads summary:
A transcendent debut novel that follows a critic, an artist, and a desirous, determined young woman as they find their way—and ultimately collide—amid the ever-evolving New York City art scene of the 1980s.
Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for The New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason—a small town beauty and Raul’s muse—and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost.
As inventive as Jennifer Egan's A Visit From The Goon Squad and as sweeping as Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings, Tuesday Nights in 1980 boldly renders a complex moment when the meaning and nature of art is being all but upended, and New York City as a whole is reinventing itself. In risk-taking prose that is as powerful as it is playful, Molly Prentiss deftly explores the need for beauty, community, creation, and love in an ever-changing urban landscape.A Visit From The Goon Squad and The Interestings were both among my favorites a few years ago, and Ti has never steered me wrong. I think that bodes well for this novel.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?
Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.
This sounds interesting. I like the setting for this book.ReplyDelete
Yvonne - That got me interested in it, too.Delete
Any book that opens with baking has to be worth reading. LOLReplyDelete
Beth F - My thoughts, exactly! ;-)Delete
I've heard great things about this one and am planning to give it a shot later this year!ReplyDelete
Sarah - I have high hopes for this one!Delete
What great opening lines! I want to know about those meetings, too.ReplyDelete
I've been eyeing this one for a while...and now I'm sold. Thanks for sharing...and thanks for visiting my blog.
Laurel-Rain Snow - I've only read a few more pages, but I think the meetings are political.Delete
This one is in my summer reading pile. Hope you enjoy it!ReplyDelete
Catherine - I hope so, too. Fingers crossed!Delete
Title not enticing at all for me, but Goodreads summary is a draw, so will try since it's readily available at library. Always nice to find a good new writer! I returned two new ones to library recently after invoking Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50.ReplyDelete
JudyMac - The summary and Ti's review did it for me. I love to find really good debut novels, too... but live by Nancy Pearl'sRule of 50.Delete
I am not sure about this one. I do like the opening though!ReplyDelete
Wendy - The opening drew me in, although I'm not sure how much it relates to the rest of the book. We'll see...Delete
Now that is a captivating opening paragraph! I love all those details and the hint of mystery about the meetings. I want to read more.ReplyDelete
Margot - That left me wanting to turn the pages, too... or at least page forward on the kindle ;-)Delete
I immediately thought of AA meetings, but I suppose that would be mundane. We'll see what they are. Here's MineReplyDelete
Paulita - That was my first thought, too, but now I think it might be something political.Delete
I'm curious about those meetings, too. I'm also wondering what took the character from Argentina to New York. Sounds like a good story.ReplyDelete
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG
Sandra - At this point, I'm thinking it's political. We'll see.Delete
I've seen some mixed thoughts on this one, but it certainly appeals to me, especially from the prologue. Keep reading.ReplyDelete
Kathy - I've seen differing opinions, too, but Ti's taste is usually pretty similar to mine :)Delete
I'd keep reading! I'm curious to learn more about the meetings too. It can't be too sinister if she's baking cake for it.ReplyDelete
Katherine - I don't think anything with baking can be sinister!Delete
The 1980s aren't normally much of a draw for me, but I do like that intro!ReplyDelete
Audrey - I prefer the 70s (like City on Fire), but loved both The Interestings and A Visit From the Goon Squad so my hopes are high.Delete
I got this because of Ti, too! Starting it in minutes!ReplyDelete
Patty - Well you're probably already ahead of me... haven't gotten back to it yet.Delete
I'd be curious about this one, with a title like that and the NYC setting. Looks like it has possibilities... :)ReplyDelete
Greg - I think so, too! Can't wait to sit and read later this evening.Delete
I'm curious about the meetings too. Girl Who ReadsReplyDelete
Donna H - At first I thought AA, but now I'm leaning toward political.Delete
I'm not sure about the intro I must admit but I like the setting, the 80's always interest me.ReplyDelete
Emma - The setting is what drew me to this novel... NYC and the arts more than the 80s though.Delete
I have this book but I haven't read it yet. The opening looks interesting and I love the time period. Happy Reading!ReplyDelete
Heather - Maybe we can compare notes at some point :)Delete
Terrific! We are on the same reading pattern -- just picked this one up from the library today LOLReplyDelete
Diane - LOL, I love it!Delete
Yeah I agree - Ti is never really wrong when she likes a book. So I say if you like the setting & art as a topic: then go for it!ReplyDelete
Susan - I got sidetracked by Ann Leary's The Children, but still hope to read this one before my loan expires.Delete