The Debt To Pleasure
Whitbread First Novel Award
Betty Trask Award
With an introduction by John Banville
Winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award 1996.
To like something is to want to ingest it and, in that sense, is to submit to the world; to like something is to succumb, in a small but contentful way, to death.
Tarquin Winot - hedonist, food obsessive, ironist and snob - travels a circuitous route from the Hotel Splendide in Portsmouth to his cottage in Provence. Along the way he tells the story of his childhood and beyond through a series of delectable menus, organized by season. But this is no ordinary cookbook, and as we are drawn into Tarquin's world, a far more sinister mission slowly reveals itself . . .
Winner of the 1996 Whitbread First Novel Award, John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure is a wickedly funny ode to food; an erotic and sensual culinary journey. Its elegant, intelligent and unhinged narrator is nothing less than a work of art himself.
The chilling, deluded Tarquin is the best character to come out of an English novel since Charles Dickens put pen to paper
Reading between the lines to discover what Tarquin is up to is enormous, sinister fun . . .dazzling, languidly brilliant, his verbal flourishes are irresistible
James Walton, Daily Telegraph
A fully achieved work of art . . .a triumph. You have to salute the real thing. The Debt to Pleasure is a major work, a supreme literary construct that's also deliriously entertaining. Even the recipes are gorgeously seductive; several pages of my copy are flecked with stains of ragu and ratatouille to mark the moments when I could stand temptation no more
John Walsh, Independent