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Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
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Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In more than thirty books, M.F.K. Fisher forever changed the way Americans understood not only the art of eating but the art of living. Whether considering the oyster or describing how to cook a wolf, she addressed the universal needs "for protection, food, love." Readers were instantly drawn into her circle of husbands and lovers, artists and artisans; they felt they knew
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published October 27th 2004 by North Point Press
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I read this book because my book group was reading Gastronomical Me which is an fascinating memoir about food and life by M. F. K. Fisher. I had read Gastronomical Me many years ago and at the time enjoyed the book, but didn't think much about Fisher's real life. I was probably naive and thought Fisher was telling the whole story in her books. That rarely happens and so I wanted to know some concrete information about Fisher's whole life.

Reardon does a good job with a complicated subject. Fisher...more
Oct 27, 2007 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
Shelves: foodwriting
You would think that reading about the life of a self-absorbed food essayist who spends her time planning summer visits to France and complaining about her magazine assignments would get boring. But I couldn't put it down. MFK Fisher's writing is absorbing (in my opinion) because she makes it so personal; and with this biography, we get even more personal, because the author includes lots and lots of excerpts from her letters -- and she was a big time letter writer.

The only drawback is, after r...more
Nancy Daley
M.F.K. Fisher is a sentimental favorite of mine. This biography has given me a window into her life, which is the kind of thing I always like, as I am very nosey. Courageous, groundbreaking, and a complete snob - the kind of woman I can appreciate. Fisher was inarguable at the forefront of the American foodie movement, and often her prose is breathtaking. Often heartbreaking.

There were some pieces missing in the bio, though, especially re: Fisher's sad relationships with her daughters. Perhaps t...more
A meticulous biography. M.F.K. Fisher was a vibrant, interesting person who lived a full life. Biographer Reardon keeps up with MFKF, but keeps her prose neat and precise and doesn't add an extra layer to the activity and clangor of her subject's life.
Jul 24, 2008 Barb rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who carry egg sandwiches in their pockets.
Shelves: food, nf-essay-memoir
Growing up MFK Fisher was fairly well pampered and she had some extravagant moments out there in Hollywood and Paris. But later she made a habit of putting herself in these tiny, difficult kitchens and living a frugal, isolated, almost monastic existence. She may have been intimidating and difficult as a person, but she had an extreme work ethic and integrity. And she had her share of tragedies to deal with. Always, no matter where she was or how meager her resources, she never sacrificed her se...more
I already have an obsessive reverence for MFK Fisher's persona as a writer of gastronomy, that irresistible and savory blend of erudite reference, bon mots, opinionated quips, emotion, breezy conversational prose. All the lives and all the loves of the woman behind the voice are likewise intense and stubborn and fascinating. But MFK is a bit of a pinned butterfly here. I would recommend reading The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher herself first.
Jul 23, 2010 Pam added it
A really comprehensive and balanced book about a complex, often difficult subject. M.F.K. Fisher was a woman torn between her art and her passions and her indomitable, strong will. I really enjoyed being able to look in on her creative process. The problems she encountered/created with all those close to her were instructive. Great object lessons in this piece.
A rather exhaustive, yet ultimately unfulfilling look at the life of Mary Frances. Reardon enjoys incredible access to her correspondance and assorted papers, but one comes away from this rather weighty tome feeling frustrated by a lack of analysis of the very complex, controversial life of its subject.
Sep 16, 2009 jimstoic marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in a bookstore in Vancouver that specializes in cookbooks and books about food. I'd just finished reading the book about Julia Child, "My Life in France," and I wanted something in a similar vein. Now, two years later, I've started reading it.
A really enjoyable autobiography -- well written, informative and fascinating. I read a lot of biographies and am always pleased to come across one where I wasn't aware of the person it is about - and this was the case. A really good read.
This book helps explain so many of the elipses in her books - and also makes it clear that she must have been a wonderful person to long as you weren't related to her.
I always like the way M.F.K Fisher writes- sentimental, personal. This book opens a window to get to know her more. It was nice.
anita Lauricella
I found this to be a really fascinating biography about an amazing, creative and independent woman.
excellent book about fisher. her writing about food, her affairs, etc.
Can there be a more boring book about a more interesting person?
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