Alison's Reviews > The Feast of Love

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
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's review
Sep 15, 2009

it was amazing

** spoiler alert ** Don't read the jacket blurb--it's reductive in that reductive book jacket way, and the characters, summarized, sound completely banal (or else cringe-inducing) (or both). But they're not! Baxter is such a wonderful writer. Every time I read one of his books, it reminds me all over again why he's such an MFA program darling--and also why, despite this novel's being a National Book Award finalist and all that, nobody outside the MFA world seems to read him. There are so many things to love in this book: the tongue-in-cheek meta-narrative opening that unsettles the realism of the rest of the novel; how Chloe's language is utterly right for her character, and how much more ambitious it is than a great many writers' rendering of kid speech (she's uneducated but smart; she uses big words to try to express the size of her feelings); the refusal to choose between two conflicting views of the same event, when that event is love, and one person is in it and the other isn't; and Baxter's fearlessness about using a happy ending when a happy ending actually works. He takes things that sound schlocky (**here be spoilers**) like a sudden death that draws people together, or a nice guy who loves women who aren't nice and treat him badly, or a sad pair of parents with a sick son--and shows us why, at some point in, like, literary history, those things were once moving to us, and how they can be, again. Lovely stuff.

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