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The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Don’t you hate it when you may (or may not) be trapped endlessly in a Village Inn with your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, coincidentally your ex-best friend? That’s the kind of day Cassandra is having. In a homogenized world that is left mostly empty so everyone can feel comfortable, "The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes" explores the fictions we tell ourselves and ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published April 17th 2014 by EAB Publishing
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Arthur Graham
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
So you're at the Village Inn with a couple of friends. There could be several valid reasons for this, but I'll imagine your excuse is the fact that it's two in the morning and the bar down the street has just closed. You need something besides booze in your gut at this point, and there aren't any good local restaurants open this late on a Sunday night. So there you drunkenly go, probably just the latest in a series of poor life decisions.

Perhaps you used to date one of the two friends who accomp
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of AIFAF, existential angst and dachshunds
Did you ever read a book and get a bit frustrated? Not necessarily at the book itself, but at how it could have developed had someone else (let's say you) been in charge of the writing of it? Usually--unless you are someone like John Updike or Marilynne Robinson--you keep such thoughts to yourself, because after all, who are you to question a classic? But David Atkinson was not cursed with such inhibitions. He expressed himself freely one day about a book he had been reading to another GR friend ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
First off, I’m from New Jersey. We take our diners pretty seriously. Over here, being trapped in one for all of eternity is pretty much how you spend your late teenage years. That said, there are no Village Inns that I know of in this state, so I can’t attest to the quality of their food in comparison to the diners of my impetuous youth. The Village Inn may or may not be a punishment.

This is the story of a girl named Cassandra who is trapped in a booth with her ex-boyfriend and his new lover, wh
Douglas Hackle
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The setup of The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes reminded me of Sarte’s existentialist play No Exit, wherein three dead characters are locked in a room together for eternity, a situation that eventually leads one of them to famously assert, “Hell is other people.” In Pancakes, three people find themselves inexplicably trapped in a Village Inn. And while it’s business as usual for this bustling franchised dining establishment, and other people can come and go as they please, the doors of the res ...more
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Manny by: The editor
"Right," I said. "So here's the new game we're going to play. We're going to describe our situation by comparing it to a work of literature. And I'm interpreting literature broadly - classic, contemporary, movies, you name it. Who's up first?"

Kate and Thomas looked at each other and shrugged. I couldn't blame them. It was a pretty weak idea, but we'd already used up all the good ones. After a few seconds, Kate cleared her throat.

"Okay," she said. "I'll do the obvious one: Dante's Purgatorio. Her
Michael Seidlinger
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading David Atkinson’s The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes instills the same sort of hunger that got me into literary fiction in the first place. It brings with it humor and honesty while managing to be clever and sickly sweet. That savory combination isn’t found very often. Buy the book and dive in with a short stack drenched in maple syrup.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While you might believe you would prefer to be trapped in a Fogo de Chão or Dave & Buster's, The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes inadvertently makes a persuasive argument to change your mind. In The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes, crêpes and the king of breakfast food, the Breakfast Burrito, are denied their due as the rock starts of the breakfast menu but Atkinson’s telling will have you enjoying yourself far too much to care or perhaps imagining a contrarian at an adjoining table.

At points
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The premise and setup kept reminding me of Luis Bunel's THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOIS in many ways, and I think such a nod to one of the fathers of surrealism is a good thing. This really is a surrealist novel and one that finds a nice balance between the absurd and the personal insight. ...more
Nathaniel Tower
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If Samuel Beckett had set Waiting for Godot in a pancake house, then he would have created something like The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes. That's not to say this is a derivative work. No, the characters here, and the plot in general, are far more interesting than what one finds in the pages of Godot. It takes a masterful storyteller to create an engaging piece in such a setting, and Atkinson delivers with rich characters and skilled prose. This book will have you wondering about the meaning ...more
Dale Bridges
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book didn't really click for me in some ways, but there was still plenty to enjoy in the writing. Atkinson definitely has a knack for comedy, especially dialogue. His writing is whimsical and entertaining in ways that remind me a bit of Nick Hornby and a bit of Tom Robbins. I believe this is Atkinson's first novel, which is exciting because as a reader it's always fun to watch a young novelist as he comes into his own. I will definitely be following Atkinson's career.

This is just my personal
Jeremy Morong
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My vision of hell involves being trapped in a Wal-Mart, but in The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes, David S. Atkinson makes a good case for Village Inn. On the other hand, he argues that it could be heaven: drinks are refilled, breakfast is always served, and the check never arrives. What more could you want? Filled with a cast of characters brought to life through the vivid imagination of Cassandra, lovers of literary fiction will enjoy this wildly inventive story. I know I did!

-Jeremy Morong,
Anna Haney
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No one has a relationship with food like David has. I read the book cover to cover with a smile. I once referred to David's writing like an injection of pure dopamine. I find this to still be true. I am changed somehow,as I shall never see or talk about food the same,ever again. David has started something here that cannot be put back in the bottle. I so want to tall, and talk, and talk about the story itself, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone who has not read it. I am demanding that my fri ...more
Peter Tieryas
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really fascinating, witty dialogue, very contemplative while also pondering the implications of gastronomical zeitgeist. I'll write more on this later if I get a chance.

One of my favorite exchanges:
"Village Inn," I said, "is modeled on corporate America's boardroom conception of what Heaven is like... Think about it. You work and slave unquestioningly all your life to get money. Once you do get money, or at least a certain amount, you can come here to trade in all that accumulated merit for your
Cat Dixon
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Why? Because the characters are real. Because it feels like magic realism. Because I love magic realism. Because the writing is strong. Because it's funny. Because food. Because it's entertaining. Because it's deep. ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: Dave gave me a copy of this book, mainly due to being close friends and co-bloggers. That has very little bearing on what I'm saying here (except I got the opportunity to pick his brain just a little bit in the process).

The story defies any sort of classification I can give it. It's not one specific type of story or another. David mixes together so many different elements and does it seamlessly to create an engaging story that has more layers than a triple stack of pancakes.

Jen Knox
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So, if space time folded us into an event or place, why not a diner with a nice breakfast menu? Just as anyone working a long-hour cubicle or factory job that requires repetition and, therefore, the ability to find stories and humor and purpose despite lack of diversity and minimal setting change, so this novel finds depth despite somewhat limited dimension. As fun and innovative as this book is, it is also fiction that examines what we don’t have time to think about.

Here, we have the Village In
Joseph Hirsch
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Confining a novel to a restaurant is a brave, and frankly dangerous proposition. The writer risks creating a static work, something like a stage production without the action or change of scenery necessary to make a novel work. But Atkinson takes on the near-impossible challenge and succeeds swimmingly.

"The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes" centers on three people, Cassandra, Kate, and Thomas, who are for some inexplicable reason trapped in a Village Inn restaurant for what seems like an eternit
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Poor Cassandra trapped with her ex-best friend & ex-boyfriend, now married to each other, in a Village Inn. Others come & go but it seems they can not leave. It should be horrific but what about pancakes forever? Dive into this delicious book set in a Village Inn ,both humorous & subtly thought provoking as you follow the interplay between Cassandra,Thomas & Kate-what is real-what is not? All this plays out against a rich mix of people working & eating there-including the manager with a terrible ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although written as a novel, this book reads like a series of quirky short stories with a theme (or perhaps several themes) that loosely and creatively ties them all together. The musings of the narrator (who is trapped in a Village Inn with her ex-boyfried and his girlfriend) form the basis for most of these stories, some of which are absurdly wonderful while others are more mundane (which I suppose is how most people's musing are in real life). There is a lot to like here and to puzzle over. T ...more
Rich Wagner
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What would you do if you were infinitely trapped in a diner with all the possible breakfast combos (awesome) but you must spend the time with your ex and former bestie who is now dating him (not so good) This is the premise of this book, is it heaven or is it hell? My favorite parts of this book involved the people watching(who doesn't love that??) I guess my only problem was in the end was it real or only in Cassandras mind.I guess only she really knows . I won this through goodreads and from t ...more
Samantha Nowatzke
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars - Picked this book up at a Con and was pleasantly surprised with it. The author does a good job of capturing that strange, not comfortable in your skin kind of feeling one has post break-up. The world is just a little more foreign at that moment than other moments in time. I enjoyed the setting of Village Inn as well - something unique.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, coming-of-age
Cassandra has agreed to meet her ex-boyfriend and ex-best-friend at a Village Inn for what she hopes will be the most momentous apology for ruining her life. But when the real reason comes out, Cassandra's life goes from crap to crappier as she tries to walk out on them and finds she's stuck at the Village Inn. When all three of them realize they're stuck and have to spend a lot of time in each other's company, it seems like the weirdest discussions will occur instead of working out the issues t ...more
Brian Alan Ellis
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
A woman is (literally) trapped inside a Village Inn with a couple comprised of her ex-boyfriend and her semi-best friend. The three play with their food, eat their food, discuss their food. It’s like No Exit for Foodies. The dialogue is quirky and fast-paced, marred only by an excessive use of attributives like “she murmured” and “she confided,” while the stream-of-conscious narrative gives the book a surreal, fever-dream style that is unique but insanely tense and claustrophobic (it’s probably ...more
Mar 19, 2015 added it
Hurt, inescapable and real.
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David S. Atkinson is the author of books such as "Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep" (forthcoming July 1, 2018), "Apocalypse All the Time," and the Nebraska book award winning "Not Quite so Stories." He is a Staff Reader for "Digging Through The Fat" and his writing appears in "Spelk," "Jellyfish Review," "Thrice Fiction," "Literary Orphans," and more. ...more

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