Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds

It's 1973, and David Leveraux has landed his dream job as a Flavorist-in-Training, working in the secretive industry where chemists create the flavors for everything from the cherry in your can of soda to the butter on your popcorn.

While testing a new artificial sweetener--"Sweetness #9"--he notices unusual side-effects in the laboratory rats and monkeys: anxiety, obesity, mutism, and a generalized dissatisfaction with life. David tries to blow the whistle, but he swallows it instead.

Years later, Sweetness #9 is America's most popular sweetener--and David's family is changing. His wife is gaining weight, his son has stopped using verbs, and his daughter suffers from a generalized dissatisfaction with life. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David's failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the American condition?

David's search for an answer unfolds in this expansive novel that is at once a comic satire, a family story, and a profound exploration of our deepest cultural anxieties. Wickedly funny and wildly imaginative, Sweetness #9 questions whether what we eat truly makes us who we are.

Read a short interview with the author HERE.

And a longer one HERE.

Praise for the book: 

"Funny and moving. After this, nothing will ever taste the same again."-~T.C. Boyle

"A truly gifted writer, Stephan Eirik Clark writes with an inventiveness and artistry that few can match."-~Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"This debut novel is a hilarious take down of an industry more interested in getting us to buy its products than in selling us good food. Essential for fans of Christopher Buckley's Thank You for Smoking."-~Library Journal

"The energetic mixture of laughter and revulsion, outrage and dismay, fact and fiction, skewer a food industry that provides neither food nor sustenance and damages us in ways we are just beginning to fathom." ~Publishers Weekly

"A comic novel that brims with insight and imagination. Stephan Eirik Clark casts a sharp eye on our addiction to simple solutions and quick fixes."--Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son

"So smart, so funny, and totally entertaining. Nothing on the dinner table escapes Stephan Clark's incisive wit--and that's only the beginning."--Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lamb 

And one photo recommendation from Stephen Colbert

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