Wednesday, 1 February 2012
[Little, Brown, 1999;
Abacus pbk 2000, 2001]
In 1951, famous, fêted and a by-word for scandal, the writer Norman Douglas approaches death at his home on the island of Capri. He wants one last lunch with his friends and protégés. Invitations are sent to Graham Greene, Gracie Fields, Nancy Cunard, Harold Acton, Eric Wolton – the boy he befriended in London many years before – and to Elizabeth David, the young woman he has taught so much about the enjoyment of food.
Described as 'half Roman Emperor, half Roman taxi driver', Douglas has touched all of their lives; and many of them have secrets to keep. More than thirty years later the secrets begin to surface when a fishmonger falls in love with a caterer. A chance encounter with Elizabeth David makes it increasingly important that they find out exactly what happened to Eric...
“Very pleasurable…deft and original” – Barry Unsworth, The Sunday Times
“Delightfully eccentric … a beguiling blend of fact and fiction” – Express on Sunday
“A compelling, fascinating and touching novel” – Condé Nast Traveler
“A delightful, meaty novel” – The New York Times Book Review
SINCE writing the novel, interest in Norman Douglas has grown. A Norman Douglas Centre has opened in Thüringen, Austria, where he grew up. A symposium is held here every two year. Douglas's granddaughter Dierdre Sholto Douglas flew from the US to speak at the 3rd Symposium in 2004; Lunch With Elizabeth David was quoted several times in a paper about Douglas's protégés delivered by Michael Allen at the 4th Symposium in 2006. A Norman Douglas Trail opened in Calabria, and Old Calabria has been used in the school curriculum in Southern Italy.