SUMMARY (by Fantastic fiction): La Cucina combines the sensuous pleasures of love and food, simmering in the heat of a Sicilian kitchen. Rosa Fiore is a solitary woman who has resigned herself to a loveless life, and expresses her passionate nature through her delicious cooking. Then, one day, she meets an enigmatic chef, known only as l'Inglese, whose research on the heritage of Sicilian cuisine leads him into Rosa's library and into her heart. They share one sublime summer of discovery, during which l'Inglese awakens the power of Rosa's sexuality, and together they reach new heights of culinary passion. When he vanishes unexpectedly, Rosa returns to her family's estate to grieve for her lost love only to find a new fulfilment, as well as many surprises, in the magic of her beloved cucina.
I rushed through this book as if I was running through the hail storm looking for safety. What a relief when it was over! This is one book I really did not like.
The promising title and summary are, as far as I am concerned, not justified by this book. I was bored reading it from the beginning to the end. The writer wants to tell a simple woman’s life and love story, but fails to create suspense. In an attempt to make the story more interesting, Prior introduces some elements of grotesque which eventually turn out just disgusting. I usually do not mind grotesque or disgusting, but in La Cucina it just comes out inappropriate and (still!) boring.
La cucina (the kitchen) is hardly worth mentioning. Prior does not succeed to present the Sicilian cuisine in an appealing way. In addition, in Prior’s book the kitchen as a place represents an unhealthy substitute for love. When Rosa is sad, lonely or scared, she finds escape in her kitchen, cooking and eating. It reminded me of modern anorexic and bulimic girls all the time.
Yet, there is one good thing about this book: the style. Prior writes in a way a middle-aged, simple, rural, Italian woman would be telling the story by herself. Through the language I could imagine Rosa, her thinking and her feelings. That was the only reason I kept reading the book through the end.
RECOMMENDATION: Maybe it is just me who does not like this book, so if you generally are an easy cuisine-and-romance type of a reader, you might give it a try.