Book

Ronald Giphart

Consolation

The other side of a chef’s life

Ronald Giphart has been one of the most successful Dutch authors from the start. His debut Ik ook van jou (‘I Do Too’, 1992) was a bestseller as were the later novels Giph (1993), Phileine zegt sorry (‘Phileine Says Sorry’ 1996), and Ik omhels je met duizend armen (‘I Embrace You With A Thousand Arms’, 2000).

The ups and downs of modern love written with a combination of humour and melancholy, and the quest for literature are Giphart’s trademark, and these ingredients are present in force in Consolation, except that here the autobiographical nature of his earlier books has been exchanged for a fictional perspective. The novel, which had glowing reviews, has been nominated for the NS Publieksprijs.

The main character Art Troost – his name more or less means ‘art consoles’ – is a famous chef with two Michelin stars. He hosts a television programme in summer when his restaurant is closed. He cooks experimental dishes for his famous guests and they eat them together while he provokes revelations from them. The story takes place during the fifth season of the series, which is turning out to be a disaster. His guests, a writer and a philosopher, place a time-bomb under the programme with their impromptu disclosures to the press. This is exacerbated by the ups and downs of Art’s relationship with his girlfriend, and an ominous letter he receives from Michelin. Gradually the novel develops into a sublime parody on the world of television which turns chefs into stars and where food is no more than a byproduct for tasteless entertainment.

But Consolation is also a sensually stimulating story because of its reflections on cooking and the many rather special recipes, which are to be read as a metaphor for literature. Just as food consoles, so does the act of reading, and, as in literature, the art of cooking demands sacrifice. The parallel between cooking and writing emerges in countless ways: in the envy among chefs, which holds its own with literary controversy, and in Art’s intention to write a book about the other side of his life as chef – it resembles the technique of Troost. However extensive the comparisons between literature and cooking may be, Giphart is never pretentious and manages to retain his characteristic loose narrative style, full of dynamic and humour. Consolation is a book for the literary connoisseur, a perfectly seasoned novel.

A smoothly written clever novel. (…) Troost is a biting satire. elsevier Witty and good (…) a ‘delicious’ novel, literally and figuratively.

De Telegraaf

Troost develops at a fast pace and is full of witty passages. … The chastening of the top chef is one of Giphart’s most amusing and surprising books. … This is a delightful book.

NRC Handelsblad

Translations

Ronald Giphart

While at university studying Dutch literature, Ronald Giphart (b. 1965) worked as a night porter in a hospital, a job leaving him enough time to write his first novel, Ik ook van jou (I Do Too, 1992). It won him the Golden Dog-Ear Award for the best-sold debut. He went on to publish the novels Giph

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Details

Troost (2005). Fiction, 221 pages.

Publisher

Podium

Willem Fenengastraat 2a
NL - 1096 BN Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 421 38 30
Fax: +31 20 421 37 76

E-mail:
post@uitgeverijpodium.nl
Website:
http://www.uitgeverijpodium.nl

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Literary agent

The Susijn Agency

820 Harrow Road, Kensal Green
NW10 5JU London
UK
Tel: +44 20 8968 7435
E-mail:
info@thesusijnagency.com
Website:
http://www.thesusijnagency.com

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