Thursday, May 21, 2009

Author Interest: Poppy Z. Brite

Poppy Z. Brite is a name I've long heard in the book world, though I have yet to pick up any of her writing. After years of looking over her stuff, I know enough to realize that she's a horror writer. Books like Wormwood, Lost Souls, and Exquisite Corpse pepper the shelves under her name. I'm not much of a horror reader myself, so I actually sat up and took notice of Brite's catalog of work when a fellow group member at Shelfari mentioned Liquor several years ago.

Liquor is something of an homage to New Orleans, and it's foodie fiction! Given my recent fascination with foodie memoir, Julie and Julia, I started thinking about Liquor after a long time of...not thinking about it. Since I have a gift card for Half-Price Books burning a hole in my pocket and I have another week before the summer classes I'm teaching kick up, I think now is the time to go on a Poppy Z. Brite hunt.

If you're interested, here's the blurb for Liquor:

As much a love letter to the Big Easy as it is to the demanding (and sometimes debauched) lifestyle of a chef, horror maven Brite's (Lost Souls) first foray into the trendy genre of foodie lit is a winsome entree. New Orleans natives and lovers John Rickey and Gary "G-man" Stubbs, affable characters from Brite's recent coming-of-age/coming-out tale The Value of X, decide to capitalize on Rickey's brainchild of opening a restaurant with a "whole menu based on liquor." Word passes through the gossipy Nola restaurant scene that two up-and-comers have a hot concept but no money, and soon enough, Rickey and G-man find themselves backed by celebrity chef Lenny Duveteaux, known as "the Nixon of the New Orleans restaurant world" for his habit of taping his phone conversations. At first doubtful of Lenny's motives, the two come to regard him as a mentor even as they question some of his choices. In one of the many conflicts that Brite embroils her main characters, the yats (colloquial for natives) have to fend off increasingly threatening actions from Rickey's former boss, cokehead Mike Mouton, while experimenting with dishes like white rum–laced fettuccine Alfredo and veal kidneys √† la li√©geoise.

Sounds fun, right?? There's also a follow-up novel called Soul Kitchen that sounds promising. If you happen to have read Brite's work before was it her horror or one of her other offerings? Where would you recommend I start, even if I decided to jump on the horror train?

Poppy Z. Brite is one of those rare authors that gets stuck in my head purely by chance and keeps resurfacing time and again. Now if I'd just get off my readerly butt and read some of her work!

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