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Reading Laurie Colwin

I have been wanting to read Laurie Colwin  for a long time; both her fiction & memoir-style ‘cookbooks’ are legendary. I ordered two of her books to take on vacation this past summer: a novel called Happy All the Time & the first of her food memoirs, Home Cooking. They were equally engaging and, as I switched between the two, I enjoyed seeing how real-life experiences ended up in her novel. (A rather unsettling instance of fact melding with fiction is mentioned in the article cited below—as if Laurie had a premonition of her untimely death). 

Journalist Jonathon Yardley alludes to this synergy between fact & fiction in an article written for the Washington Post: “Laurie was not an auto-biographical novelist in the received sense of the term, but her fiction closely followed the pattern of her life . . . She reshaped her own experience into books that touch others . . .” (His observation hints at what I was trying to express about the relationship between fiction & non-fiction in my November 1 entry.)

As I was leafing through Home Cooking today, I came across a train ticket marking a page in the ‘How to  Make Gingerbread’ chapter. When I scanned the text it didn’t take long to recall how I had shared a passage that I knew my daughter would appreciate as much as I did. Referring to a gingerbread cake that she had baked in ‘saucer-sized’ cake pans (six inches in diameter), Laurie writes: “This little three-layer cake will feed six delicate, well-mannered people with small appetites who are on diets and just had a large meal, or four fairly well-mannered people who are not terribly hungry. Two absolute pigs can devour it in one sitting—half for you and half for me—with a glass of milk and cup of coffee and leave not a crumb for anyone else.” This conspiratorial tone and a down-to-earth writing style is what makes Laurie Colwin the kind of writer you love to read (especially those of us who fall into that last category!).1.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0

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Yardley’s article

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Today marks the 45th anniversary of the tragic flood that inundated Florence in 1966. Water rose to 22 feet in some parts and, along with mud and oily sludge, damaged an untold number of treasures. Rain is threatening, but none has fallen yet.

© 2011 Lisa McGarry                                                                                        ../Lisa_McGarry/lisa-mcgarry.com_HOME.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0