Saturday, 19 May 2012
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant begins with the dying Pearl reflecting back over her life, her courtship and marriage, her three children and her strength in raising them alone when her husband leaves the family home. Pearl is a tough woman. When the children were young she was not averse to violence and verbal abuse, but she bought home the bacon and the children survived and flourished.
Well not flourished exactly. Cody, insanely jealous of Ezra since childhood, steals his girlfriend, marries her and wildly speculates that his son may be Ezra's. Cody is the kind of person who not only has to win at Monopoly but is not happy unless everyone else is thousands of pounds in debt. Jenny trains as a doctor and after an unfortunate first marriage produces a large extended family. Ezra takes over a local restaurant which he names The Homesick Restaurant and his dishes are somewhat experimental. While Cody and Jenny have a fractious relationship with their mother, Ezra is genuinely sweet-natured and gets on with everybody
The recurring motif of the novel is Ezra attempting to get the whole family to eat together in The Homesick Restaurant without somebody bursting into tears or storming out. You will have to read it to discover whether he ever manages it. A fabulous novel, but oh so sad.