Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone

This review is from a free copy provided for an honest review.

When my dad was teaching me about literature back in high school, one of the questions that always came up was, "What did ____ symbolize?" And I never knew. For some reason, even when it's explained, symbolism is one of the least appealing things about reading.

I think the flies in The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone meant something. I won't embarrass myself or the author by guessing what it is.

The author, Will Storr, certainly does a good job painting a vivid picture with words. Unfortunately, the subject fluctuated between masochism (specifically self-harm) and ... uh... descriptions of bodily fluids (so realistic, it'll make you taste... anyway...)

The story begins with the birth of our so-called protagonist. He grows up in an abusive home, but his aunt teaches him to cook. Cooking becomes Killian's passion. Goes to school, idolizes the famous chefs, all that stuff. He's edgy, learns how to stand up for himself. Brilliant at what he does. So far, so good.

Killian gets the opportunity to apprentice under his ultimate chef idol. Now, I've never worked in a kitchen (or anywhere in the food industry -- although being a haircut apprentice has made me a FANTASTIC BARISTA), and after reading this book, I don't even want to eat in a restaurant again, let alone work in one. Physical and emotional abuse is common in this story (including, but not limited to the literal eating of shit).

Killian is finally recognized for the genius he is and gets a job in a new restaurant, where he soars (with the help of some magical herbs he finds on his property, which makes people go totally nuts and want to have sex when they eat it). Instead of having the least bit of humility or even common sense, he becomes an entitled little shit, yet still somehow manages to keep a girlfriend.

Without giving away the ending, let's just say all this backfires.

The author is a good writer. This story mostly kept me interested, too. But the title character was just too much of an asshole for me to want to root for or spend my subway rides with him.

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