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The Devil's Larder

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  539 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A sumptuous, scintillating stew of sixty four short fictions about appetite, food, and the objects of our desire

All great meals, it has been said, lead to discussions of either sex or death, and The Devil's Larder, in typical Cracean fashion, leads to both. Here are sixty four short fictions of at times Joycean beauty--about schoolgirls hunting for razor clams in the stra
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 7th 2002 by Picador (first published October 1st 1901)
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38th out of 49 books — 36 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 959)
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Evan
A feast indeed, and a masterclass in economy, indirect exposition, and style. Each vignette, not titled but merely numbered, is like a sip of some really good wine that you only taste for a second, but which seems to contain dozens of other flavors. Then it's gone and you get to try a sip of the next really good wine. Perfect subway reading.
Facehannah
This book is sumptuous and shadows, heat and cold leather couches. I want to devour it (literally), I want to get the corner of a page and suck because I'm sure it tastes like dark, ripe blueberries. Steak. The richest dark chocolate.
I am to report that Jim Crace has a love-affair with food that is deeper than most of the relationships we have known. In this luscious collection of short stories Mr. Crace explores our relationship with food from every angle. The adventure, the ritual, the mystiqu
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Grady
An extensive and exhilarating menu

Jim Crace has done it again! This author's richly faceted mind manages to find succinct stories from the most bizarre premises. Whether he is re-telling the Jesus-in-the-wilderness tale from the bible, or exploring the decaying bodies of an older married couple to dissect their premorbid lives, or, as in this instance, pausing on any number of theme and variations on the food fugue, he is extraordinarily successful. Why? The answer lies not only in the fact that
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Alex Telander
English author, Jim Crace, winner of last year’s National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction with Being Dead, brings another novel of a most unique variety. The Devil’s Larder is a collection of sixty-four very short stories, all with one thing in common – food.

Here Crace has really stretched his creative talents, producing a masterpiece of the most unusual kind. It’s not easy writing short prose and capturing all the necessary details and happenings within that restrictive space; Crace does
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Sean Cronin
Crace is an excellent writer. He's got a devilish sense of humor - real laugh out loud stuff - that infuses this murderous-psycho killer book.
If you're looking for cheep thrills you won't find them. Crace does something more original, and much harder. He creates a self-absorbed egotist gourmand, venial, treacherous, murderous. As a protagonist, not a likely candidate. But it works because of Crace's humor and knowledge of cuisine; which in itself makes the book a must read for foodies.
Murder mys
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Ariel
For some reason I find this book deeply unsettling. There is something I can't quite define about Crace's style that feels very strongly to me like it - revels, maybe - in the nastiest bits of being human. Fitting, I suppose, for a book of short pieces about consumption. It is a very beautifully written book, and one I expect I shall gladly recommend to particularly discerning readers in search of something unusual to tempt jaded palates, provided that they are neither shy nor afraid of uncommon ...more
Matt
My friend Pete this early (2001) entry in the "collections of short, otherwise disconnected pieces organized around a theme" genre (think You're an Animal, Viscowitz, or Scorch Atlas or Cataclysm Baby). As you might infer from the title, the stories here are all concerned with food-- some with preparation, some with taste, some with the ways in which the food gets consumed, etc.

The stories are mostly playful, mostly realistic, though some incorporate fantastic ingredients, people returned from
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Jeff Laughlin
Over the top and mostly inefficient. I just never felt like this made sense or needed to be around. I missed the point, i guess.
Ben Eldridge
In my end of year rush to reach my reading goal, the brevity of The Devil's Larder was too tempting to overlook. I've read a few of Jim Crace's novels, and must admit I never really saw what the fuss was about, but with this collection of extremely short 'stories' I can now certainly see his appeal. These are masterfully written, and it is extraordinary how Crace creates so much depth from such brevity (in both style and form). The text is composed of minute philosophically rendered examinations ...more
Jennifer
Aug 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Michaela Hutfles
There are a handful of writers who make me wish, and crave, to be able to write as well, as evocatively, as sparely as they do -- Jim Crace is now on that short list.

Sixty-four tales, thinly threaded together by strongest silk, each story as edible, as indigestible, as ironic as the 1001 ingredients tipped and stirred into them for flavor and effect. Each story told coolly, with restraint, so that elements of passion or the macabre worm their way, but only slowly, into your conscious, leaving b
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Heather
This is a book of 64 vignettes about food. But it's not simply about food, it's about the emotions that go along with the food and the complex issues surrounding the food. The style is lyrical and poetic, and subtle themes of all flavors are infused throughout it's pages. Jim Crace has done a fantastic job of making these short essays, more often then not, foreboding and dark. There are stories dealing with death and love, indifference and hate, and just about any human emotion that can be playe ...more
Tiah
Mar 10, 2014 Tiah added it
- We all should have a [unlabelled] can like this. Let it rust. Let the rims turn rough and brown. Lift it up and shake it if you want. Shake its sweetness or its bitterness. Agitate the juicy heaviness within. The gravy heaviness. The brine, the soup, the oil, the sauce. The heaviness. The choice is wounding it with knives, or never touching it again. -

- Those flies and wasps are free to dine on us. Those cadavers can rise up from the undergrowth and seize us by the legs if they so wish. For w
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Marsha
Oddball, quirky, sensual, lyrical and strange, Mr. Crace's stories are not easy to categorize. The one theme they share is food. But this isn't a catalogue of recipes but a series of diverse tales about food and its transformative power. Whether it's about a man becoming disgruntled by his fearful wife during his honeymoon or a comical chef using seafood to exact his revenge on customers, Mr. Crace deploys his considerable gift to reel in his readers. There is even, incredibly, a short story abo ...more
Holly
Apr 14, 2015 Holly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Holly by: Nicole
Once you have finished, there is a chilling residue of steam. It cowers in the bowl. It dares not chance the darkness and the cold. And if you do not take your hands away, and if you press your face on to the rim, and if you close your eyes so tightly that your darkness is complete, the steam and smell will kiss your lips and lids and make you ready for the slow digestion of the night.

A book of short stories filled with consumption; sensual descriptions of food; & a prose that wets your appe
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Michelle
If found this book at a used book store. I've read two of Crace's other works, but I had never heard of this book.

It's a 3+-star read bumped up to a 4 because of the ability it takes to create a successful collection of 64 short fictions about food and because there are many 4-star moments in this book.

I didn't expect to enjoy all 64 stories to the same extent; I would have been shocked if I had. There are depths to plumb here.

[I read before bed every night. I loved that even if it were late on
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Amanda
I found this in my Nook library and couldn't remember reading it! I started re-reading it, and the stories came back to me, only then did I remember them vividly. It's a nice beach read.
Lisa
An odd and intriguing book, like the 23-course tasting menu I had at a restaurant once: a succession of small bites, some unsettling, some lovely, all adding up to an atmospheric session.
Katherine
This short story collection mainly attracted me because of the title. Afraid it only has two stars for me.
I thought the very first story about the old woman baking bread was very good. Another, with an unmarked tin of food was a little interesting but the rest made me feel uncomfortable when reading it. Especially one of the end stories, where the mother snogs her five yr old daughter.
I don't know this author, had never read him before and perhaps this collection was one of his earliest works?
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Sam
An odd collection of 64 short tales about food and our lives revolve around it. Some of the stories are humourous and funny while others I did question the point of including them (maybe I missed the point of those completely). I have to say I particularly enjoyed the tale of the restaurant that served complimentary mussels whenever someone complained (I am NEVER complaining in small town restaurants ever again...or at least not accepting free food when I do!). Overall an odd but interesting col ...more
Ryan
A brilliant collection of stories revolving around food. Each one is told in a deceptively simple style which makes them all the more strange and menacing. The styles range from moral tales, anecdotes, fragment, recipes and reminisces and each one makes you want to go back and relish them over. My favourites were the story about the restaurant which sold nothing and became one of the hippest spots in town, the story of the chef who cooked leather, the one about the complementary oysters no one s ...more
Lynn
This was an unexpected, magical, lyrical collection. I'd picked it up at a book sale for no good reason, especially since I rarely read short stories. All of these stories are linked by food; some are fantastical, some realistic, some haunting, some chilling, but they're all fine pieces of writing. While they're not in an order I could discern, they play beautifully off one another.

I highly recommend this book and will look for others by this author.
Ben
I feel like I should have liked this more than I did. The idea is really strong, and some of his sentences and descriptions are beautiful, but it felt a little shallow perhaps, and I doubt I'll remember anything from it in a few months time. Actually, on flicking through quite a few of these little stories made me smile quite a bit [Kingquats, angel bread, mushroom devils, and the taste of other peoples mouths] so I'm bumping it up to 3 stars.
Randal
A book of short (sometimes very short) stories, each revolving around food. I liked it in the beginning and enjoyed the writing style throughout. But I found myself questioning the relevance of some of the pieces.

Crace takes an almost mystical view of food and its place in our lives. By the end of the book, however, I felt that the whole premise of the book was a good theme gone too far, at least when coming from only one writer.
Meghan Pinson
This is the third or fourth go-around for this book ... while I'm in it, I have a hard time figuring out why I keep needing to come back to it, but I finish it again all the same. Something intriguing about all of these strange stories about food, poison, sex, magic, that I'm not finished with yet. There aren't many books that I pick up over and over again, but this one's at the top of a short list.
Sean
Very well written, but not much stands out. There isn't much meaning to this collection of stories, it just centers on food, a technique that is well done though, and works well. It's just rather empty. There isn't much to take away, which is something I demand from all works I read. I want to grow from them. The writing is exquisite, I just wish it said something more.
Lili
I loved it. Quirky flash fiction about food, it is almost a forgone conclusion. Not all the essays were stellar, but the gems were so frequent (and the duds so short) that the unevenness did not bother me. Then again, I'm sure if I re-read it again next year (or several years from now) different essays will appeal to me.
Louella Mahabir
Apr 04, 2008 Louella Mahabir rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the daring
i would recommend this book 2 people who like to read authors who have un conventional styles,and who do not have weak stomachs because this guy goes the extra mile for gross and shocking. A book of short stories that one cannot decide whether he/she loves or hates it, but that it is definitely well written.
Anna
I've loved everything I've read so far and this book brought me to a new apex of appreciation. It may have been reading it in El Salvador, or due to the episodic form--this one gave a little taste of Garcia Marquez for me (though I am a bigger Crace fan).
Paul
some of the best short stories about and around food I've read - all of these are excellent and beautifully crafted, a few are absolutely fantastic - first of Crace's books I encountered and I've been hooked ever since - amazing stuff.
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The Devil's Larder 1 12 Jul 31, 2007 05:07PM  
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James "Jim" Crace is an award-winning English writer. His novel Quarantine, won the Whitbread Novel award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Harvest won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Crace grew up in Forty Hill, an area at the far northern point of Greater London, close to Enfield where Cr
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More about Jim Crace...
Harvest Being Dead Quarantine The Pesthouse The Gift of Stones

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