A witty satire of the expat experience in rural Europe and antidote to every “wish-you-were-here” travel memoir, this novel is entertainment in its purest form.
Gerald Samper is all about the good life. On his own private hilltop in idyllic Tuscany, he is living his own brand of la bella vita working as a ghostwriter for celebrities. He wiles away his free time concocting outrageous dishes with the distinctive liqueur gifted to the area’s new arrivals. But it’s not long before his little slice of paradise is shattered by the arrival of an eccentric neighbor, a composer on the run from “Voynovia,” a crime-riddled Eastern European nation to which she owes her distinctive accent.
With each ridiculous misunderstanding, the two are brought into ever closer and ever more disastrous proximity. In their earnest attempts to narrate their side of the story it quickly becomes apparent how unreliable they both really are.
An adroit, charming and bitingly funny comedy of manners for anyone who finds humor in the idiosyncrasies of human behavior, Cooking with Fernet Branca is a true Europa classic.
James Hamilton-Paterson is the author of several novels, including Loving Monsters and Gerontius, winner of the Whitbread Best First Novel Award in 1989, and Seven-Tenths, a collection of essays dedicated to the lost grandeur of the sea.