Kristen's Reviews > The Feast of Love

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
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's review
Jan 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read from January 09 to 18, 2011

This one is a little daunting to review, because it’s not a simple book by any means.

This is the kind of book that you need to really fall into. It’s not a book that you can read while watching TV or waiting for the bus, you need to sit down somewhere and really read and enjoy this book. The writing is so visual and lyrical and clever. You forget that you are reading fiction and not actual accounts of people’s lives.

The story is written in an interesting style, one night an insomniac author gets up and takes a walk and meets Bradley Smith and his dog, Bradley. And that’s where our story begins. It is told in the form of interviews almost, as if the characters are literally telling you their story.

There’s a little bit of inter-connectedness with the characters, which I love. I felt so attached to the people in this book, even to Bradley Smith, the coffee shop owner & painter who is sort of the main character in this story. I say sort of, because Bradley’s character is sort of the silent observer in the story.

This book covered a lot of emotions. I felt desperately sad for Harry & Esther Ginsberg, in relation to their son, Aaron, who seems to be a general fuckup and disappears on them. And, of course, Bradley’s failed relationships and the sadness that follows when you love someone and they don’t love you back, or when you love someone and it just doesn’t fit, it just isn’t right.

I loved Harry & Esther Ginsberg, by the way. The philosopher who can actually kick ass, and his wife, and how they believe a dybbuk (a Jewish phantom apparently) is haunting Bradley’s house.

Mostly, the book is an exploration of love (Chicago Tribune) and I think that is a pretty fitting description. Love encompasses so much. I mean, love - the nitty gritty of it – is so much more than just ONE emotion. I mean, you can’t even begin to describe love. Can you describe love? Because I certainly can’t. And that’s what this book is – an exploration of a subject that we are familiar with, and yet we can’t explain.

This is a sprawling book, there is so much contained in it. It took me a while to read it but I think that is because it’s more complex than some of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately & it requires a little more processing.

All in all, a really good read. I give it 4/5 stars.


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