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The Feast of Love

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  6,855 ratings  ·  766 reviews
The Feast of Love is a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us. In a re-imagined A Midsummer Night's Dream, men and women speak of and desire their ideal mates; parents seek out their lost children; adult children try to come to terms with their own parents and, in some cases, find new ones.

In vignettes both comic and sexy, the owner o
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 25th 2000 by Pantheon (first published 2000)
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Oct 22, 2007 Empress rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs, love-fools & Shakey Jake allumni.
A seemingly disoriented post-midnight walk through several lives and loves. People clumsily come together, and come apart, shifting narrators and tones--all thick with the theme of love (and loss) in its' many, many forms.

I loved this books and had a hard time putting it down, literally. (Which rarely happens to me.) At times, however, I was worried it was too cute a novel, given the occasional all-too-precious line, but before my skepticism could fully take hold, Baxter quickly won me back wit
Nov 09, 2007 Emily rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Uh, no. Boring. Charles Baxter has an anoying writing style that got on my nerves, Charles does. The dialog was written horribly, not at all like actual people conversing. And I am not just talking about the two youth characters. All of the characters. They were unnecassarily repetitive. The two youth were the worst though. I know that he was trying emulate the way immature 20-year-olds would actually talk, but . . . gag! I could barely plow through one particular passage were the two idiots wer ...more
Oh, did I love this book. Clever, but not for the sake of being clever; self-aware, but not self-absorbed. And so beautiful. Charles Baxter himself is the narrator, visible only periodically, and his neighbor Bradley is telling his own story intertwined with those of people he knows.

I turned down about 15 different pages that had passages I liked... here are two:

The upshot of it was, I kept Bradley. I fed him and petted him and I built him a doghouse and called his name when I came home, and in
If an older, male author is seized by the urge to speak through the mouth of a pierced, teenage nymphette, he'd better do it convincingly. The parts of this book narrated by the earnestly vapid Chloe read a little like how old men impersonating young girls in chat rooms must come off. She intersperses slang with a few ten-cent words like "mellifluous" (and then reassures us she looked the word up somewhere so we won't suspect she's really an aging academic) and, at one point refers to her "girl- ...more
There are few books that have possessed me -- taken ahold of me, owned me, inhabited me -- like Feast of Love has. I have been dreaming about the characters. I have been dreaming about reading the book, which is also like living inside the book. I will be thinking about Nude Descending a Staircase, as a painting and as a metaphor, and the next chapter I pick up will mention the painting. I will read a chapter that uses votive candles as a reality and as a metaphor and I will close the book and o ...more
Someone, or something I read, caused me to pick up this book several years ago at a used-books sale, because its synopsis is not one that would normally have tempted me into buying it, but whatever that something was, I have no recollection of it any longer. And it can't be the "A Midsummer Night's Dream" references as that isn't even one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.

I can tell Baxter is a smart man (his character of Harry proves that) and also a very good writer from the writing in the "pre
A dear friend told me about this book several years ago. I bought it, like I always do, and there it sat on my shelf for years - waiting to be read. When asked for a book club suggestion, I gazed at my shelf and it screamed at me "pick me! pick me!" So, it won the suggestion and became the early January pick for book club.

It was beautiful. Well written, heartfelt, and just an overall good read. It was a terrific portrayal of how, despite our good intentions, some things just don't work out the
The reason I loved this novel so much was because of its portrayal of love. The novel, the story, its images all were imperfect and all had something not quite right with them. We had the abiliy to see the words and red flags the characters would let slip through between the lines. Just like Bradley's painting, a veritable image of the feeling of love set in a table setting of a feast of light yet remember there wasn't something quite right with it? There were no people. No one to share it with, ...more
I almost "really liked" this book, but something kept me from getting up and over that slope. It's a really large-hearted novel - and very, very well-written - but its scope was a little small for my tastes.

In terms of the characters (which, in the end, is all this novel is), I loved reading the Ginsburgs and their careworn intelligence and parental heartbreak, and I enjoyed Diana's immediately recognizable, warfaring vanity; but I couldn't stand reading Chloe and Oscar and their impoverished,
Baxter's novel unfolds like an origami swan. The entire concept is beautiful and intricate. Upon first inspection it wows. How complex! Amazing! What an original narrative, layering individual perspectives within, among, alongside one overarching meta-narrative. The whole novel is deeply hyper-conscious of its own creation from page one.

The characters, residents of the same Michinan town are all comfortably familiar, sketched as someone recognizable. Baxter illuminates Ann Arbor's sedate Midwes
Simone Subliminalpop
Una grande storia che si dipana attraversando tante altre storie, più piccole. La stessa storia che non è mai veramente la stessa, contaminata nella narrazione da differenti punti di vista, voci e modi di sentire. Mondi che collidono, impegnati tutti nella ricerca di qualcosa.
Un quadro a cui prestare attenzione, apprezzandone sì la visione generale a creare un senso condiviso, ma nel quale soffermarsi soprattutto sui particolari fatti di gesti, reazioni e riflessioni personali.
Davvero bravo Cha
Mary McCoy
I've read this book about ten times and bought it at least four times because I keep giving my copies away to friends. Over time, I've come to see that it's not a perfect book - certain turns of phrase clunk, certain character traits don't ring true. But it's perfect to me, and no matter how many times I've read it, there are still passages that blow me away, move me to tears, and strike me as profoundly true and correct.

There are also lines that I've never noticed before that get my attention o
Jul 16, 2007 Matthew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mostly everybody (proven)
This is a book I often recommend when asked to recommend a book by someone whose taste I don't know well.

It's not that it's "safe" (although everyone seems to like it) but that it's one of those transcendent middebrow books like Salinger's--Shawshank Redemption, which everyone also likes, does the same thing in the movie genre--that confirms everything you already thought or wanted to believe, and makes it seem richer than you'd ever thought. For which I'm grateful.
Goodness this was hard to get through. I couldn't finish it. It was written Phil Donahue confessional style. Everyone seems to have the same voice, even if they're an old Jewish man grieving the loss of his drug addict son, a young tattoed alternative in-love couple, or a middle-aged man surviving the tatters of a second failed marriage. Maybe the movie is better?
Katherine Malmo
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It has become an all time favorite (for teh moment :). I can't quite articulate what about it I love so much. It's a good story told in an interesting way. The dialogue is perfect. I just find it so inspiring as a writer. He breaks the rules and he tells a good story.
Bill  Kerwin

A celebration of Eros, a god to be reckoned with--dangerous, transformative, irrational--as told in at least five different voices by characters who have experienced his power. Baxter is a fine stylist, and the different voices are precisely delineated.
I was not expecting to like this book when I picked it up. A used bookstore had clearance books on sale 7 for 5 dollars and I needed a seventh book, so I just threw this one on top of my stack. I'd heard of Baxter, but wasn't too familiar with his writing. I was kind of put off at the beginning by the meta-narrative style of the novel, but once I got into the stories of these characters, I was engrossed in their lives. Each chapter in this book is a vignette that sketches each character's love l ...more
Este libro tiene rato que lo terminé y ahí tantos tonos que me evoca, no sé por dónde empezar, mucho menos qué veredicto darle.

El inicio es enorme y cálido, las intenciones de Baxter son impresionantes y no estoy seguro que lo logre a grado técnico, pero en todo lo demás lo logra con honores... hay pasajes muy bellos, otros bastante intensos...

La pasión de los amantes, el absurdo de las coincidencias, y que sin embargo marcan el rumbo de nuestros sentidos, la idea de pasar el resto de tus días
I'm a fan of books with a melancholy slant toward love. It seems like you don't earn the juicy good bits about love without acknowledging the failed and ugly isolating bits. Baxter shares in this, what I think is a very realistic view. So, this is a collection of some very true seeming people who have some very true seeming feelings toward one another. The voices are collected by the most mysterious one, some interviewer story collecting book writing guy with insomnia, Charlie… Aw, crap. Now I l ...more
THE FEAST OF LOVE. (2000). Charles Baxter. ***1/2.
Charles Baxter iw planning to write a book. It will be a book about ordinary people and the retelling of one of their most extraordinary occurrences. The book is fashioned after the style of “La Ronde,” where the characters serially meet each other and interact. Baxter starts off with Kathryn and Jenny, then we meet Katherine’s husband, Bradley Smith and, importantly, Bradley’s dog, Bradley. Next we meet Chloe and Oscar, two employees at Bradley’
Nicole Del sesto

Back when I first started on Facebook, author Jonathan Carroll posted this as a great book for a weekend read. 5 - 6 years later, I finally got to it. I love Carroll and I can absolutely see why he liked it.

This is a story about various loves and relationships - Baxter is more of a short story writer, and you can kind of tell. These seemed like very connected short stories, but it totally worked as a novel. In the early chapters it is suggested that in every relationship there is a perfect day,
I read this book a few years ago, and, if I had rated it right after I finished it, I would have given it perhaps two or three stars, since The Feast of Love isn't typically the type of book I enjoy reading. However, over the years, I would catch myself remembering the characters in this book when I come upon certain situations in real life. There's just something about each character's situation that makes me consider other people's life instead of just being enmeshed in mine.

Being a rather stu
My favorite writer is Robert Olen Butler because of his gifted prose. I haven’t read many authors that can match up to Butler on a technical level, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Baxter does a great Butler imitation. What Butler does best is tell stories from the main character’s perspective, using internal thought processes and streams of consciousness to make you identify with the characters. Baxter does a similar thing here. Feast of Love is about love (obviously), told through fo ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone

I read this because I was planning to watch the movie. The book was full of surprises. I knew that Charles Baxter taught at the University of Michigan, a school I once attended, but was delighted to find The Feast of Love set in Ann Arbor, MI, where I lived for many years. I often read just for the pleasure and experience of being taken to places I will probably never go to myself, but there is a unique pleasure to recognizing the details of weather, types of people, buildings and streets, while
Charles Baxter’s The Feast of Love is described as a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us (Chicago Tribune). Compared to Midsummer Night’s Dream, this novel explores the lives of individuals when love becomes a complicated factor.
Beginning the novel Charlie Baxter leaves his house for a midnight walk through his Ann Arbor neighborhood. Passing two love stricken individuals on the fifty-yard line of a football field Baxter eventually encounters a friend o
Lisa Findley
I fell instantly for this book -- the writing is lovely and clear, and Baxter's images and metaphors are startling and precise.

But then he moves away from these vignettes of people's love lives and their deep but funny meditations on them. He narrows the novel to a fairly dramatic ending, and even though this brings several of the previously unrelated characters together, it felt as though we were losing voices instead of gaining or synthesizing them. I still very much enjoyed the book as a who
Charles Baxter may have started out as a short story writer, but his latest efforts of note have been his novels. _The Feast of Love_ was a finalist for the National Book Award, and I can see why (though I have still to compare it to that year's winner). The idea is somewhat Kundera-esque--the novel begins with writer 'Charlie Baxter' waking in the middle of the night from a dream of asynchronous gears and finds that he is suffering from temporary amnesia. Once recovered, he decides to take a wa ...more
missy ward-lambert
Charles Baxter's prose is lyrical and lovely in Feast of Love, and I felt like I learned a lot about about voice and POV as I read, but... well, I suppose it's just not the kind of book that really speaks to me. A whole book about love affairs and sex (unrealistic sex at that)? What about everything else in these characters' lives? And philosophically: Isn't there just MORE to life, more that deserves our attention? Maybe some people would argue that there isn't --after all, there's an entire GE ...more
An interesting set of snapshots… Peering into the lives of several people who are connected by circumstances and evaluating love from each of those perspectives. The characters vary in age, background and just about anything else you can imagine. And so, the author does a good job of weaving these different lives together in a story that keeps you listening to be sure.

And of course there is a bringing full circle of the story in the end, even if a few seams are left unfinished!
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Charles Baxter was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College, in Saint Paul. After completing graduate work in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught for several years at Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1989, he moved to the Department of English at the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor and its MFA program. He now teaches at the University of Minnes ...more
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“In truth, there are only two realities: the one for people who are in love or love each other, and the one for people who are standing outside all that.” 82 likes
“Every relationship has at least one really good day. What I mean is, no matter how sour things go, there's always that day. That day is always in your possession. That's the day you remember. You get old and you think: well, at least I had that day. It happened once. You think all the variables might just line up again. But they don't. Not always. I once talked to a woman who said, "Yeah, that's the day we had an angel around.” 64 likes
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