Title: The Lost Art of Mixing
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC for blog tour with TLC Book Tours
First line: Lillian stood at the restaurant kitchen counter, considering the empty expanse in front of her.
Goodreads blurb: Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .
Do you know that feeling you get on a hot day, when you come inside and poor a large glass of something cold, and drink it in huge gulps, loving the feeling of the cold liquid as it quenches your thirst? That’s how I read this book: I gulped it down like it had everything I needed in that moment.
Erica Bauermeister writes stories about people. As you read her work, you get the impression that she not only understands people, but she truly likes them in all their quirky, unique, weakness-laden humanness. I loved revisiting the characters from The School of Essential Ingredients, and getting to see how their stories continued, and how their lives continued to entwine with one another. I equally enjoyed the addition of new characters, like Al, Lillian’s accountant, who sees poetry in numbers, and Finnegan, the tall, quiet young man who takes pleasure in recording the stories of others.
Bauermeister’s stories don’t follow a linear plot structure; they are more like tapestries in which the threads of the characters’ lives weave in and out, creating something beautiful. The story moves along at a perfect pace, giving the reader plenty of time to dive deeply into these stories, learning the characters as much as if they were people who you encounter every day. And as you read, you not only become absorbed by these people’s lives, you get to read exquisite prose that floods your senses, giving you bursts of color, aroma, taste, and touch.
The Lost Art of Mixing won’t be released until January 24th, but it should be one of the first books you read in the New Year. I know it will be on my list of most treasured reads of 2012.