Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Die Lust und ihr Preis” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Die Lust und ihr Preis
John Lanchester
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Die Lust und ihr Preis

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,558 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Tarquin Winot - hedonist, food obsessive, ironist and snob - travels a circuitous route from the Hotel Splendide in Portsmouth to his cottage in Provence. Along the way he tells the story of his childhood and beyond through a series of delectable menus, organized by season. But this is no ordinary cookbook, and as we are drawn into Tarquin's world, a far more sinister miss ...more
Published September 1st 1996 by Zsolnay (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Die Lust und ihr Preis, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Die Lust und ihr Preis

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Apr 30, 2012 Nancy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: John Laferriere
I wanted to love this book. It was highly recommended by a co-worker who is one of only a few passionate readers I know in real life. The writing style was elaborate and pretentious, the sentences overlong, rambling and wordy. Many passages were darkly humorous and the food descriptions were mouth-watering. The main character was clearly disturbed. If you are paying enough attention (I wasn't always), then you will find clues early on as to how disturbed he is. Yet, I am not interested enough in ...more
Ian Pagan-Gladfly
Not Your Typical Lad

This is an odd little book, but one that is hugely rewarding.

There is a trend in English writing towards "lad lit", by way of imitation of "chick lit".

Most chick lit that I’ve read (e.g., Kathy Lette – nobody does upwardly mobile English bourgeois quite like an Australian) seems to be at home in its genre, whereas most lad lit seems to me to be lost in imitation, as if the author was writing down to this level, while waiting to be discovered and offered the opportunity to wri
Quirky and inventive novel, which is well worth the effort of persisting with the pompous and irritating narrator. Tarquin Winot is a foodie and is not all that he seems. The blurb on the back of the book indicates that. Also anyone who changes hia name from Rodney to Tarquin does have identity problems. It is a sort of Mrs Beeton meets American Psycho.
The food talk is actually very interesting and Lanchester clearly knows his stuff (he ought to as he has been a restaurant critic for the Observ
Ananya Sarkar
One of my favorite books of all time - the writing is wonderful, as long as you are okay with a tendency toward the stream-of-consciousness style and the use of a lot of big words. As off-putting as that may sound, Lanchester never misuses words - I just had to mention it because a friend said this is why he didn't like the book. So yes there are some words you MAY have to look up.

I go back and re-read this book all the time. He gets the tone of the effete foodie just right.
I read about this book on the web as I was googling Iain Pears; what a lucky coincidence! This is an incrediby original and engrossing book; a monologue by one of the most colorful, eccentric and deranged fictional characters I have come across in a very long time. The narrator is a food critic and incidentally a madman, with an irresistible sense of humor, quite a combination. He peppers his life narrative with some interesting recipes and menus. Of course, as he gets caught up in his story, th ...more
For a long time I would have told anyone who would listen that this was my favorite book, or at least one of my favorite books, of all time. I'm sure if you unearthed my ancient, cobwebbed MySpace profile (even my FRIENDSTER profile, for God's sake) this book would have been front and center in my "What I Like" area. That said, I realized recently it had been over a decade since I read it last and I should probably check in and see if I even liked it at all anymore.


There is next to nothing I can say about this book without dropping spoilers.

It's so dark and disturbing that I would usually say it isn't my kind of story at all. And yet it's so incredibly well done, and so sneaky in how it introduces and builds its full seamy horror, that I can only bow down before John Lanchester in deep admiration. Ten years after reading it, I can recall the mood, the narrative tone, and some images I'll probably never forget.

So perhaps read at your own risk -- but I hig
What a delicious, sick, twisted, and unique book this was. Let me try to describe: OK first of all, it is a work of fiction (I mean, I sure hope it is!!). It's a psychological expose, wrapped in a memoir, wrapped in a cookbook.

Got that?

It sounds like it makes no sense, but it all fits together once you get into it. The narrator thinks he's writing a cookbook, but he admits up front that there are liberal amounts of memoir thrown in there... stories about his childhood, his current life, his thou
Stephen Redwood
I found the extreme erudition irritating and making progress felt like running through mud, until my denseness caught up with the irony. This is written in the 1st person by the egocentric, self-absorbed, bombastically intellectual main character, Tarquin Winot. The hyper sophistication of the writing is wrapped around Tarquin's obsession with food and cuisine and the unfolding exposition of his life story. Each chapter has a meal choice at its centre, with some fascinating insights into foods a ...more
Loved this book! Which is hilarious and surprising and full of the longest sentences you've read since grad school. The attitudinal narrator loves digression and starts many an assertion that is interrupted with clause after modifying clause, going on and on until when the object of the sentence finally arrives - as often as not I had to go back to see where it had begun, because by then I'd forgotten. If you find that sort of thing annoying, you'll probably hate this book. I liked it. And he's ...more
pretentious, rambling, elaborate so says one reviewer. I prefer the other reviewer who says: dark and sensuous and beautiful and sinister. It's about food and stuff.
Sally Tarbox
The false friend has a more general applicability and usefulness than in the purely grammatical sphere.Not least in family life',

Narrated by one Tarquin Winot, a snobbish yet brilliant foodie, as he travels to his home in France, this might seem at first to be nothing more than his musings (and highly entertaining these are) punctuated by recipes. But the reader soon observes a megalomania in Tarquin:
'I myself have always disliked being called a 'genius'. It is fascinating to notice how quick p
One of my greatest pleasures is eating, so I must cook. I savour, therefore I cook. I like tasty food made with fresh ingredients that address all four of our tastes – salt, sour, sweet and bitter – to create a complementary whole. Of course, there is now the fifth taste, unami, the expanding universe within soy sauce, that can amplify other inputs. I have just made an English pie, with chicken, mushrooms, a little diced bacon, seasoning and fresh herbs. It was moistened with stock and an egg be ...more
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lancaster was an accidental type of book. Something that you just stumble across. It’s not the type of book that you frequently hear being recommended, which is disappointing to me.

I guess I should warn you, the book is about food but it is also about horror. Two subjects I find that are often blended together. This is a revenge tale, but a beautiful one. Like a fancy cake that you are almost afraid to touch so as not to disturb the art and love that went into it.

Steev Hise
Jan 23, 2013 Steev Hise rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steev by: i wish i could remember
Shelves: fun, food, own-it
This novel really has an odd arc to it. It starts out as an almost plotless meditation on fancy food and cooking. Then it gradually, very gradually, becomes the story of a scary, diabolical sociopath. As someone recently more and more interested in fine cuisine and the culinary arts, it was challenging but not overly so to make it through the first 170 pages or so of the gourmet musings of the narrator. And then it starts getting really juicy, though still full of ever so erudite foodstuff trivi ...more
Soon after reading 'Mr Phillips' I saw this one in the work tea room "library". I didn't love the afore mentioned book, but familiarity spiked interest.

I didn't love this one either. The mixture of food and death just not at good as I wanted it so be. Tarquin was a total wanker, his droning voice obviously not meant to be particularly likeable, but I found him to be boring and the story as it was to unfold predictable from the initial revelation.
Imagine Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin (author of The Physiology of Taste) crossed with Nabokov's Charles Kinbote and you may come up with someone like Tarquin Winot, Francophile food editor and fabulously insane narrator of this deliciously evil little gem. I envy the aficionado of comic fiction who hasn't yet experienced its pleasures.
Wickedly clever...and very much a surprise. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, or how to describe it without spoiling it. Let's just say that you'll never watch Food Network quite the same way again, or read all those books by expat Brits in Provence about the local cuisine without a slight shudder of fear.
This intelligent, sinister novel includes some fantastic food writing. It also uses my favorite literary device of all time: the unreliable narrator.
Lara Maynard
The design of the 1996 hardcover with jacket Canadian edition from McClelland & Stewart is the reason that I picked this book up from amongst the volumes on a big bookstore sales table some years ago. Kudos to the book designer and to the jacket designer, both.

I had this novel on my shelf then for several years, but once I finally took a few bites, I ate it up! The writing, the narrator, the design: it's the best kind of a "full meal deal."

One might think the narrator a pompous, boorish ass
Anne Green
I'd been looking forward to reading this book as I'd heard such great reviews about it and I love books about food and fiction, so what's not to like I thought in anticipation. I soon found out. I realised the narrator was meant to be pompous and irritating, I tried to make allowances for the fact that he was clearly designed as an unlikable protagonist. I persisted, looking forward to an upswing in my response to the book. But it didn't happen. I'm not sure why. Lanchester is a very good writer ...more
This is a truly satisfying & nutritious banquet of a book,rich in literary protein,packed with poetic vitamins & supplying plenty of earthy carbohydrates too! Its mostly French setting adds picquant flavours to the pot & Lanchester's authorial voice is spicy with humourous asides on life & its singularities; no two appetites are the same,no two tastes are identical.The plot,such as it is,revolves around a slow sojourn with a gourmand/gourmet writer,Tarquin Winot,English & ref ...more
Nenad Vukusic
First time I read this book, all over food connoisseur movement had not yet started, Jamie Oliver had his first shows but was not a global player and all of the other, now famous cooks, were completely anonymous. I read it on a boat, just as I retired from working as a chef's helper in an Italian restaurant for a few years. It is basically a gourmet travelogue, sort of, trip down the memory smorgasbord of the main character, with recipes and restaurant recommendations, but at some point, about a ...more
This is one of those books that readers either love or hate, "get it" or not. I thought it was wickedly amusing. Be sure to (pay attention) as Winot/Lanchester constantly remind you. Clues are dropped along the way as the sinister plot unfolds. Oh, and I'm just dying to try adding mustard to the sauce, the next time I make croque-monsieur. See, I was paying attention...ever the "attentive reader."
Clever, unique...insanely delightful~
A tricky book, initially hard to like. Starts off like some sort of garrulous MFK Fisher foodie-memory reminiscences of the past. but strange and disturbing details start to emerge, subtly, between discussions of soups, tarts, etc. The main narrator tries to numb you with words disguised as meal vignettes, as the reader, you must not be fooled. Kind of a meta-story strung along different discussions- art, food, memory.
Although never entirely happy with its mountains of culinary erudition and baroque style (If Sir Thomas Browne had written a cookbook. . .), I was never in any doubt that Lanchester knew exactly what he was doing when he crafted this novel. Indeed, he can be startlingly sharp and hilarious when he chooses: take "the yeti-like gropings of early sexual experience," or his explanation of our instinctive reaction to the sound of nails on a blackboard: "Some genetic memory of––what? The sound of a sa ...more
John Lanchester's "A Debt to Pleasure" is one of those books that is not what it appears to be. Whereas, it is self defined by it's protagonist Tarquin Winot as a memoir based in the protagonist's field of expertise - food - it has more in common with a book many probably have identified as a similar type of reflection - Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire." Like Nabokov's narrator, this one is either highly deluded or intentionally deceiving or both. In any case, the narrator is not to be trusted nor ...more
This is one of those rare novels that seems written just for oneself. Or, in an alternate universe, written by oneself—this author-me, slightly more narcissistic, sociopathic, and better versed in French than real-me, being the surrogate for the book's narrator/faux-memoirist and not the talented John Lanchester, whose wonderful debut novel is incomparable to the meandering and utterly common internal monologues of both mes. I couldn't put down this twisty, hilarious, dark book.
Kurt Thams
This is deliciously-written, the language and the stories. Lanchester calls it a cookbook, but that is an intentional ruse. The recipes, which are narrated rather than enumerated, are the waypoints for a travelog oriented around taste, written as a memoir.

(Side note: I wonder if any reader becomes inspired to take a first run at cooking. Frankly, I wonder how someone could resist the seduction. This book might turn the avoider of the kitchen to the joy of making delicious food).

The tone of the
Lisa Frank
If you found Hannibal Lecter too obvious, uncouth, and sentimental, you will love Tarquin (born Rodney!) Winot, a narrator whose soi-disant erudition and gentility just fails to conceal a cold-blooded killer. Tarquin's commentary -- on everything from modern art criticism to the perfect blini -- is acidic and learned and larded with clues. You'll have great fun piecing together his crimes and you'll pick up some good cooking tips along the way.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Mighty Walzer
  • Brewster's Millions
  • According to Queeney
  • The Polyglots
  • Fireflies
  • England, Their England
  • Augustus Carp, Esq. By Himself Being The Autobiography Of A Really Good Man
  • The Wimbledon Poisoner
  • No Bed for Bacon
  • White Man Falling
  • Mister Johnson
  • Towards the End of the Morning
  • The Adventures of Gil Blas
  • Titmuss Regained
  • Before Lunch
  • The Unbearable Bassington
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
  • Topper Takes a Trip
John Lanchester is the author four novels and three books of non-fiction. He was born in Germany and moved to Hong Kong. He studied in UK. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was awarded the 2008 E.M. Forster Award. He lives in London.
More about John Lanchester...
Capital I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay Fragrant Harbor Mr. Phillips Family Romance: A Love Story

Share This Book

“Mere adequacy is never adequate.” 4 likes
“In all memory there is a degree of fallenness; we are all exiles from our own pasts, just as, on looking up from a book, we discover anew our banishment from the bright worlds of imagination and fantasy. A cross-channel ferry, with its overfilled ashtrays and vomiting children, is as good a place as any to reflect on the angel who stands with a flaming sword in front of the gateway to all our yesterdays.” 3 likes
More quotes…