Search >>
Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Pulitzer Prize for Biography
Pulitzer Prize for History
Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction
National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography
National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
National Book Award
National Book Award for Fiction
National Book Award for Nonfiction
Man Booker Prize
Man Booker Prize
New York Times Best Books
New York Times Best Fiction Books of the Year
New York Times Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
LA Times Book Prize
LA Times Book Prize for Fiction
TIME Magazine Best Books
TIME Magazine Best Fiction Books of the Year
TIME Magazine Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
Amazon.com Best Books
Amazon.com Best Books of the Year
ALA Notable Books
ALA Notable Books - Fiction
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction
PEN/Faulkner Award
Pen/Faulkner Award
100 Best Novels
The Novel 100: The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time
Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the Century
FAW Best Books of the Year
Best Books of the Decade
Best Books of 2016
Best Books of 2015
Best Books of 2014
Best Books of 2013
Best Books of 2012
Best Books of 2011
Best Books of 2010
Best Books of 2009
Best Books of 2008
Best Books of 2007
Best Books of 2006
Best Books of 2005
Best Books of 2004
Best Books of 2003
Best Books of 2002
Best Books of 2001
Best Books of 2000
Best Books of 1999
Best Books of 1998
Best Books of 1997
Author Honors
New Yorker 20 Under 40 (2010)
New Yorker Twenty Best Young Fiction Writers in America (1999)
Granta Best of Young American Novelists (2007)
Granta Best of Young American Novelists (1996)
Granta Best of Young British Novelists (2003)
MacArthur Fellows in Fiction
National Book Foundation 5 Under 35

The Feast of Love
CHARLES BAXTER

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
163 reviews (2000) (320p)
National Book Award Finalist
Amazon.com Best Books

Visit this book's Amazon.com page >>


Book Description
From "one of our most gifted writers" (Chicago Tribune), here is a superb new novel that delicately unearths the myriad manifestations of extraordinary love between ordinary people.

The Feast of Love is just that -- a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us. In a re-imagined Midsummer Night's Dream, men and women speak of and desire their ideal mates; parents seek out their lost children; adult children try to come to terms with their own parents and, in some cases, find new ones.

In vignettes both comic and sexy, the owner of a coffee shop recalls the day his first wife seemed to achieve a moment of simple perfection, while she remembers the women's softball game during which she was stricken by the beauty of the shortstop. A young couple spends hours at the coffee shop fueling the idea of their fierce love. A professor of philosophy, stopping by for a cup of coffee, makes a valiant attempt to explain what he knows to be the inexplicable workings of the human heart Their voices resonate with each other -- disparate people joined by the meanderings of love -- and come together in a tapestry that depicts the most irresistible arena of life. Crafted with subtlety, grace, and power, The Feast of Love is a masterful novel.


Amazon.com Review
Among literary cognoscenti, Charles Baxter has a well-deserved reputation as one of America's finest writers. Best known for his short stories, Baxter has also produced three novels. His fourth, The Feast of Love, combines the best of both genres--with a light dusting of metafiction to sweeten the dish. The book begins with Baxter himself waking from a nightmare and going for a moonlit walk through his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. While sitting on a park bench, he is joined by an acquaintance of 12 years--and, incidentally, one of the main characters in the novel. It is Bradley who gives Baxter the name for the novel he's currently struggling to write, and even offers himself as a character:
You should call it The Feast of Love. I'm the expert on that. I should write that book. Actually, I should be in that book. You should put me into your novel. I'm an expert on love. I've just broken up with my second wife, after all. I'm in an emotional tangle. Maybe I'd shoot myself before the final chapter. Your readers would wonder about the outcome.
But why stop there? Bradley goes on to suggest that he send people to Baxter, "actual people, for a change, like for instance human beings who genuinely exist, and you listen to them for a while. Everybody's got a story, and we'll just start telling you the stories we have"--a sly tip-off to the reader of this elegant, quirky, and wholly engrossing novel that the writer may be no more reliable than his narrators.

What follows is a chronicle of love--the mad kind, the bad kind, and the kind that sustains us when everything else is gone. In addition to Smith, we meet Chloé, a young waitress at Bradley's espresso bar, and her ex-junkie boyfriend, Oscar; Bradley's next door neighbors, Harry Ginsburg, an elderly professor of philosophy, and his wife, Esther; and Kathryn and Diana, Bradley's two ex-wives. The characters take turns narrating, often commenting on and correcting versions of events mentioned by other characters in previous chapters, and occasionally advising Baxter on the progress of his novel: "Don't threaten people, especially lawyers" legal eagle Diana warns "Charlie" shortly before she launches into her own story. "Don't threaten your own characters. It's for your own good. You'll wind up in a mess of litigation and... subplots." But in The Feast of Love, God is in the subplots--Oscar and Chloé's involvement in the porn industry; Esther and Harry's agonized relationship with their mentally ill son; Bradley's travails in love, art, and dog ownership. As the novel progresses, these separate strands gradually merge, and not even an unexpected tragedy can dim the luster of this moonstruck romance. For by the time Baxter brings his tale of love and loss and redemption to a close, his characters have all found their way to the feast--bittersweet though some of the dishes may be. --Alix Wilber


Other Award Winning Books by Charles Baxter
GRYPHON: New and Selected Stories by Charles Baxter
9 reviews (2011) (p) (NYT100)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Charles Baxter Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 1 The Feast of Love ·  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

BACK

Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact