David Baker. Vintage. New York: Touchstone, 2015. 320p. ISBN 978-1-5011-1251-5. $24.00 Fiction
Food journalist Bruno Tannenbaum’s life is spinning out of control. The author of a successful novel and a collection of essays, Twenty Recipes for Love (selections of which delightfully introduce each chapter), is separated from his wife and two daughters, has worn out his welcome at his favorite restaurants, and loses his job as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. What to do? Writing a blog is out of the question; he loathes new technology, especially anything that speeds up meals or allows just anyone to write a restaurant review. But then he stumbles upon clues that may lead to a lost vintage wine, apparently shipped out of France by the Nazis during World War II. Does Bruno have a new book in him and is this it? VERDICT Baker gets his spellbinding novel off to a rousing start with a great setup and an endearing protagonist, a bon vivant who rambles from Chicago to France, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Moscow, enjoying fantastic meals and drinks along the way, as he searches for the lost wine—and, just maybe, for himself. A feast for all readers, with a warning only to those on a diet!