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Booklist (starred review): "Amazing Disgrace is written as if Samper is chatting with the reader over a bottle of prosecco, and it offers endless (often laugh-out-loud) musings from the scatological to the sartorial."

Date: Sep 20 2006

Gerald Samper, an irrepressible middle-aged Brit, divides his time between London and a Tuscan villa, where he sips wine, savors his own curious culinary creations (like “Badger Wellington” and “Death Roe”), and pens biographies of sports and media personalities. (The subjects of his offerings are often insufferable, such as one-armed fiftysomething yachtswoman Millie Cleat, more concerned with her own notoriety than her nautical achievements). In this sequel to the wonderfully wry Cooking with Fernet Branca, Samper experiments with an herbal potion for penile enlargement and pines for his Tuscany neighbor, Marta, a composer from an eastern bloc country who has mysteriously disappeared. Fortuitous circumstances bring Samper into the company of famous German conductor, Max Christ. This turn-of-events is sure to please his nicotine-addicted agent Frankie, who’s forever pestering Samper to find more substantial subjects for his tomes. Amazing Disgrace is written as if Samper is chatting with the reader over a bottle of prosecco, and it offers endless (often laugh-out-loud) musings from the scatological to the sartorial. Upon the pleasures of a corduroy suit, he opines: “Discretion is the better part of velour.” Samper is the consummate conversationalist, though one might think twice about sampling his cuisine.

by Allison Block