Consider the Feast follows Talia through the streets of The Quarter, where every imaginable delicacy is made and devoured, every unspeakable hunger is fulfilled. But the privileged patrons who feast there, and the third-world laborers who feed them—the haves and have-nots—are about to face a reckoning. The author Carmit Delman talks to Book Glow about the novel.
Describe the book in one sentence.
Consider the Feast follows a woman trying to find herself in a New York City obsessed with food—but on a deeper level, it seeks to make some sense of our plenty and privilege on the backdrop of the larger world.
What led you to write it?
I’ve always been fascinated by our contemporary food culture. The way people cook and eat—and talk about and think about and photograph cooking and eating. The pervasiveness of food celebrities and media, the way gender and class play out in its sphere, and generally, how food has become our modern vocabulary and currency.
How long did it take to write?
It took about four years to write, but I explored (and trashed) different versions of it in other genres over the past decade.
Do you prefer writing in one genre over another?
I love writing fiction, because it is without boundaries.
What book most influenced your life?
The Source by James Michener. It’s the intertwined stories that are buried inside an archeological excavation, going back through various people who lived there over thousands of years. It’s a humbling book, because all the individual stories and movements that unfold so fiercely are mere specks in the course of civilization.
Where do you write?
Locked in my attic.
Is there any one thing that especially frustrates you about the writing process?
Writing is such a compulsive process for me. When I am really in the trenches, I struggle to balance, sleep, get out of my thoughts, make dinner, and interact with people the way I should.
Any advice for novice writers?
It’s perfectly normal to get stuck sometimes in your writing, and to not feel inspired. But if you want writing to be a productive and long-lasting part of your life, it’s important to treat it as a disciplined work process, not something that is reliant on revelations at every turn. Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration—barrel through and keep at the mechanics of writing until the inspiration is conjured up again. Writing is work after all, and we should treat it as such. Truckers don’t get trucker’s block.
Lots of new and exciting foodscapes to write through and explore!