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Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit
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Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  606 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
A village in Tuscany is the setting for this joyous debut—a novel that defies all our expectations as it puts a fresh, clever, captivating spin on the age-old tale of forbidden love. Rich in literary delights, filled with spectacular wordplay, and rife with the bawdy humor of Shakespeare’s comedies, Tomato Rhapsody is the almost-true tale of how the tomato came to Italy—at ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone (18+)
Wow. Just – wow. I really wasn’t sure when I started … but wow – e cosi bello!

I’ll never look at tomato sauce the same way again.

It was an extraordinary book. It’s a fable about how the tomato came to Europe, and how it overcame the strange, popular prejudice that it was extremely and immediately poisonous, to become inseparable from Italian cuisine. It’s also about a wicked stepfather, the oppression of Jews in early Renaissance Europe, the curing of olives, Christopher Columbus, Catholic miss
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a most unusual novel. Set in 15th century Tuscany, it's a tale of love, lust, food and life. It features broad and bawdy comedy, poignant drama, rhyming dialogue (said to be in imitation of the peasant dialect of the place and time), random Italian words and phrases, commedia dell'arte elements, authorial asides, sensual descriptions of the joys of eating a tomato and creative explanations for the origin of foods such as tomato sauce and pizza.

I've noted that the book polarises opinion.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all my novel-reading friends
Recommended to Judy by: Janice
Adam Schell has cooked up a gourmet treat to delight all the readers' senses. His recipe includes bushels of charm, wit and cleverness mixed with a delicious plot and saucy personalities. Take above ingredients and wrap them in Tuscan history, sprinkle with a dash of suspense, season with heartbreak, Christopher Columbus (really!) and failure, then steam all the above in sweet romance for 338 pages and glory in a delectable gourmet treat.

Davido and his grandfather are sixteenth century, despised
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't know what category to place this book. It doesn't seem to fit any mold, unless it's tomato aspic. It made me think of The Princess Bride and even Shakespear's comedies (not that I've read a lot of Shakespear).

This fable is a fun romp through Tuscany when the tomato (or love apple) was introduced to Italy. The story of the star crossed lovers is told in a lyrical poetic style and vividly brings all the characters to life while praising the virtues of the tomato. You may even find a recipe
I kept hoping it would get better. For a short time it seemed as though it would. Then we got to the donkey dicks. This book came highly recommended to me. It presents a fantastic example of how two people with generally similar tastes can diverge drastically.

I found myself struggling with the writing from the very beginning. It was verbose and reminiscent of a student who has not yet learned which adjectives are descriptive and which merely distract. The plot felt disjointed. The author, for no
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 50-in-2009, food-lit
I usually read more modern interpretations of Italian life and food (Frances Mayes, John Berendt), so Tomato Rhapsody did require a mental step back in time. Once I jumped back into this world before pasta sauce, it was easy to fall in love with the Tuscan village and it's interesting cast of characters. I was completely pulled into their daily life of market days and traditions like the testosterone and wine-fueled donkey race. The characters are easy to love or hate, and Schell's descriptive w ...more
Jul 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is a terrible book. The only reason I finished reading it was because I had nothing else with me to read on a long bus ride.

The author is an obvious snob who tries to show off how awesome he is through his writing, instead of actually writing a good story. He goes into needless side diatribes about the history of food, the amazingness of this recipe, and various theories on story-telling, and oh look! His story is obeying those rules perfectly! Not to mention the unnecessary and random use
Vince Robertson
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I fear for Adam Schell: it isn't going to be easy for him to write another book as good as this one. This one is very, very good - marvelous, in fact.

It takes a little effort to enter the world of this novel, accustom oneself to the idiom in which it is written, and enter the flow of the narrative. Some of the descriptions repeat in a Homeric way which is both enthralling and sometimes frustrating. My usual diet is Lee Child, Robert B. Parker and John Connolly, more action and dialogue, but this
David Schmelkes
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! Wonderful! Amid the slew of dreary American fiction, obsessed with dysfunctional families, addiction and vampires (YUCK!), I cannot tell you how delighted I was by this utterly original and refreshing novel. I have long loved works of historical fiction, but, truth be told, I often find them a bit dry, but not this one. Tomato Rhapsody had the literary chops and substance that I hope for in good literature, but oh my, an exuberant humor leaped from the page. Yes, it took me a few chapt ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Well, I'm a sucker for Italy, historical fiction, and cooking, and the "forbidden fruit" angle is cute, but the fact that the characters are supposed to be speaking in rhyme and the lines don't scan is so maddening that it distracts and detracts from the story.
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The offspring of a fashion model mother and a rabbi father (a long story), ADAM SCHELL grew up more inclined toward football pads than the kind of pads used for writing. Stories, however, from Moses and King David to those of Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton, played nearly as vibrant a part of Adam's youth as did sport. Love of the game aside, the on-field success (allow me to drop the charade and switc ...more
More about Adam Schell...