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The Cookbook Collector
Cover of The Cookbook Collector
The Cookbook Collector
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Two sisters, opposite in every way: twenty-eight-year-old Emily is a CFO of an internet start-up, twenty-three-year-old Jess is a graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily's boyfriend is fantastically successful. Jess's boyfriend is an environmental activist. But the dot-com bubble must burst, while Jess's work on a cache of rare cookbooks uncovers strange erotic drawings and marginalia that bring her closer to their mysterious collector... Rich in ideas and characters, The Cookbook Collector is a novel of substitutions: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living. But above all it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that lasts.
Two sisters, opposite in every way: twenty-eight-year-old Emily is a CFO of an internet start-up, twenty-three-year-old Jess is a graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily's boyfriend is fantastically successful. Jess's boyfriend is an environmental activist. But the dot-com bubble must burst, while Jess's work on a cache of rare cookbooks uncovers strange erotic drawings and marginalia that bring her closer to their mysterious collector... Rich in ideas and characters, The Cookbook Collector is a novel of substitutions: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living. But above all it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that lasts.
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About the Author-
  • Allegra Goodman is the author of six novels, including Kaaterskill Falls - a finalist for the US National Book Award. In the UK, her most recent novel Intuition was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize 2009. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 8, 2010
    If any contemporary author deserves to wear the mantel of Jane Austen, it's Goodman, whose subtle, astute social comedies perfectly capture the quirks of human nature. This dazzling novel is Austen updated for the dot-com era, played out between 1999 and 2001 among a group of brilliant risk takers and truth seekers. Still in her 20s, Emily Bach is the CEO of Veritech, a Web-based data-storage startup in trendy Berkeley. Her boyfriend, charismatic Jonathan Tilghman, is in a race to catch up at his data-security company, ISIS, in Cambridge, Mass. Emily is low-key, pragmatic, kind, serene—the polar opposite of her beloved younger sister, Jess, a crazed postgrad who works at an antiquarian bookstore owned by a retired Microsoft millionaire. When Emily confides her company's new secret project to Jonathan as a proof of her love, the stage is set for issues of loyalty and trust, greed, and the allure of power. What is actually valuable, Goodman's characters ponder: a company's stock, a person's promise, a forest of redwoods, a collection of rare cookbooks? Goodman creates a bubble of suspense as both Veritech and ISIS issue IPOs, career paths collide, social values clash, ironies multiply, and misjudgments threaten to destroy romantic desire. Enjoyable and satisfying, this is Goodman's (Intuition
    ) most robust, fully realized and trenchantly meaningful work yet.

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    Atlantic Books
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Allegra Goodman
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