Monday, March 5, 2007

Mounting Desire

Nina Killham's first novel, How to Cook a Tart, was a total pleasure. Part mystery novel, part satire of our culture's obsession with food, it moved right along, had lots of good ideas for recipes, and featured a protagonist, Jasmine, about whom one cared. Fun! I read it maybe three times. So when I remembered that she had a second novel out, I was thrilled; how could it go wrong?

Oy. Let's just say that even I can't be enthusiastic about "Mounting Desire," a total muddle of a (maybe?) satire on our cultural obsession with sex, featuring a parody (I think?) of a virginal male romance novelist and his quest for true love. This novel doesn't know which end is up. There are few pangs as sharp as the thwarted urge to be thoroughly entertained by a book.

But "How to Cook a Tart" is still great.

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