Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Kitchen Reader: Blessed Are the Cheesemakers
I was delighted to have been asked to make our July Kitchen Reader selection. For our second-ever fiction installment, I chose Blessed Are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch.
Imagine a place were you can go when life screws you over - or you screw your life over - where the hills are rolling green (and would probably block your cell signal), and the only entertainment to speak of is the Sound of Music sing-a-long staged daily by the Pregnasaurs (pregnant, vegetarian milkmaids) for the benefit of the milking cows.
Welcome to Coolarney!
Blessed Are the Cheesemakers follows the story of the two aging cheesemakers of Coolarney (who are preparing to pass the torch), Abbey (Cheesemaker Corrie's granddaughter who is running away from a crumbling marriage), and Kit (a fallen-from grace stockbroker running away from a string of bad decisions).
Themes of longing and belonging run through the story like the veins of a perfect blue cheese. Like the well-balanced cheeses made at Coolarney, Lynch pairs strong emotions with just enough non-fictitious information about the cheesemaking process to make the story believable and keep it from becoming overly sweet.
On a more personal level, I was pleasantly surprised with part of the storyline that brought in one character's desire for a baby, the Pregoasaurs' unwanted pregnancies, and the inevitable discussion of adoption. The competing emotions were handled authentically and gently.
In short, I loved it!
If your appetite is whet, and you want a nibble, Lynch offers an excerpt on her website. And if you've read Blessed are the Cheesemakers and want more, I also loved House of Daughters (which follows the intersecting paths of three flawed and warring sisters who inherit their father's Champagne vineyard).
Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links.