Title: Elza’s Kitchen
Author: Marc Fitten
Publish Date: July 03, 2012
My Source: Netgalley
My rating: 2 Stars
From the author of Valeria’s Last Stand, a charming fable of mid-life, of passion and purpose lost and found in a restaurant kitchen.
For years, Elza has gotten by. A divorcee out of culinary school, she started her own little restaurant in the mid-size Hungarian city of Delibab, and she’s grown a decent business, cooking quality versions of Hungarian classics and serving them with a smile. But lately her smile has gotten tired. Her loveless affair with her sous-chef has become an irritation. She’s getting sick of the same old dishes and the same old customers. And in these nascent years of capitalism, it will take some competition-both personal and professional-to make her see that her restaurant, and her happiness, are worth fighting for.
Marc Fitten fell in love with Hungary after years spent living there, and his second novel is a celebration of its culture and cuisine, as well as a portrait of a woman and her country in transition.
Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn and lived in Hungary from 1993-1998. He is the former editor of the Chattahoochee Review and of the Red Hen Press Literary Translation series. Marc Fitten’s first novel, Valeria’s Last Stand, was published in six countries. He lives in Atlanta. (Official Book Summary)
This story was just OK. It really had promise to be a better than OK story but ultimately it just fell short. For me, it just stemmed from the fact that I didn’t care about Elza, the main character. I found her uninspired and just plain boring. The story starts off with Elza lamenting over the fact that she doesn’t love her boyfriend, she just wants a warm body next to her. Sees that her ex-husband, whom she left because he wanted to start a family, has moved on. He got remarried and started a family. Elza again starts lamenting about how she has nothing to show for her life. Nevermind the fact that she has a successful restaurant, a beautiful apartment, male customers who adore her, and a boyfriend who has asked her to marry him too many times. I can’t stand people like this! She has so much yet, she can’t be happy for what she has. This is why I just couldn’t get into her or the story.