Saturday, December 06, 2008

Laurie Colwin 1944-1992

Every few years I feel the need to re-read all of Laurie Colwin's work. Even though I know I am going to get sad and cranky when I realize that she died so young, and there aren't any more novels, or short stories, or food books. Still, I read the novels first, then the short stories, and finally the two food books. Why? Because she is able to do something magical with the smallest of stories, the quietest of situations, the most ordinary extraordinary characters.

Colwin writes about men and women who are intelligent, oddball, and kind to each other. Usually they live in New York. Usually they come from elevated backgrounds. Usually they have some trouble in love, but mostly they are married, and working things out on the ground. There is adultery. There is the respect for the life of an artist. And there is food. Always. I'm talking about the novels and short stories here.

If you are a fan of R&B, start with Goodbye Without Leaving. If you are a fan of modern painters, start with Family Happiness. If you need a novel that examines the workplace, start with A Big Storm Knocked It Over.

And then there are the two food books: Home Cooking and the easily titled More Home Cooking. Today I made Laurie Colwin's Lemon Rice Pudding and in homage to her greatness, I ate quite a bit of it, warm. I'm sure she would be pleased.

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