Harper Academic

Savage Feast

Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (a Memoir with Recipes)

by Boris Fishman

On Sale: 02/26/2019

Price: $27.99

Savage Feast

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Savage Feast

Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (a Memoir with Recipes)

by Boris Fishman

On Sale: 02/26/2019

Format:

Price: $27.99

About the Book

One of Booklist's Must Read Nonfiction picks of 2019

The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told, recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle.

A revealing personal story and family memoir told through meals and recipes, Savage Feast begins with Boris’s childhood in Soviet Belarus, where good food was often worth more than money. He describes the unlikely dish that brought his parents together and how years of Holocaust hunger left his grandmother so obsessed with bread that she always kept five loaves on hand. She was the stove magician and Boris’ grandfather the master black marketer who supplied her, evading at least one firing squad on the way. These spoils kept Boris’ family—Jews who lived under threat of discrimination and violence—provided-for and protected.

Despite its abundance, food becomes even more important in America, which Boris’ family reaches after an emigration through Vienna and Rome filled with marvel, despair, and bratwurst. How to remain connected to one’s roots while shedding their trauma? The ambrosial cooking of Oksana, Boris’s grandfather’s Ukrainian home aide, begins to show him the way. His quest takes him to a farm in the Hudson River Valley, the kitchen of a Russian restaurant on the Lower East Side, a Native American reservation in South Dakota, and back to Oksana’s kitchen in Brooklyn. His relationships with women—troubled, he realizes, for reasons that go back many generations—unfold concurrently, finally bringing him, after many misadventures, to an American soulmate.

Savage Feast is Boris’ tribute to food, that secret passage to an intimate conversation about identity, belonging, family, displacement, and love.

Critical Praise

“This delightful, recipe-filled memoir from novelist Fishman follows his Jewish family—and their richly-described dinner tables—across three generations, from 1945 Belarus to 2017 Brooklyn…Fishman’s immigrant saga masterfully evokes a family that survives, united by food…There’s a large web of characters and anecdotes, but Fishman grounds the narrative with his witty prose and well-translated family recipes.” - Publishers Weekly

“Central to Fishman’s insightful, absorbing memoir is hunger…The trauma of cultural loss, shared by many immigrants, was assuaged by his grandfather’s home health aide, whose recipes for potato latkes, stuffed cabbage, braised rabbit, liver pie, and scores more make the memoir a succulent treat… A graceful memoir recounting a family’s stories with candor and sensitivity.” - Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“This beautifully written memoir is a wonderful story about family, love, and connecting with your roots.” - Library Journal

“Vibrant…It’s easy to feel at home in Fishman’s writing; it’s warm, reflective and frequently funny…Even more than a story of hunger, this is a story of love. Love of family and companionship. Love of romance and lore. Love of garlic, fish and the feeling of finally learning to identify and satisfy the simple but crucial loves for which everyone hungers.” - Shelf Awareness

“This rich, memorable exploration of immigrant identity, culture clash and Soviet cuisine will linger long after the book has been closed or the last of the dishes within have been served.” - Shelf Talker

“I find myself at home in the buoyant brouhaha of Boris Fishman’s family. And for all I know, he and I may be distant cousins. In prose as visceral and tightly coiled as the best poetry, Savage Feast assures me we are bound by the part of the self that is healed, coaxed, chastened and captivated by even the memory of a good meal.” - Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize Winner

“Given his literary gifts, his intelligence, his keen sense of humor, and his fascinating immigrant family history, it would have been a crime if Boris Fishman had not written this book. Like all good recipes, the ones in these pages will give you cravings, but the story itself could not be more satisfying. A superb memoir—artful, ambitious, deeply soulful, often hilarious—by one of our cleverest and most original writers.”
  - Sigrid Nunez, author of THE FRIEND, National Book Award Winner

“Rabelaisian in appetite but Chekhovian in its spare and keen psychological detail, this marvelous memoir of family, exile, breakup, and one prodigious cook named Oksana sets a new standard for literary gastronomic writing. Even the recipes—who wouldn’t salivate over garlicky peppers marinated in buckwheat honey?—are as surprising and fresh as Fishman’s prose.” - Anya Von Bremzen, James Beard Award-winning author of THE ART OF SOVIET COOKING

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062867896
  • ISBN 10: 006286789X
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 02/26/2019
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 1.170 in (d)
  • Pages: 368
  • List Price: $27.99
  • BISAC1 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  • BISAC2 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural Heritage
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Culinary