The Dinner List
I became interested in this book because I had just read Rebecca Serle’s latest novel, In Five Years and loved it (we’ll get to that later). Often, when I find a new release I love from an author I enjoy, I will go backwards and read the rest of their work. Writing is a funny thing and conversely, writers are funny humans. One book can be a really well written masterpiece and then another from the same author feels like it’s only fit to line the birdcage. Obviously, a writer can’t please every reader and that’s fine. As I said, I really liked In Five Years, and happily, I also really liked The Dinner List.
It’s a fabulous idea really; make a list of people living or dead whom you would invite to a special dinner. In this case, the main character in the novel started making the list as a young college student, changing the invitees, as she got older if she pleased. The novel takes place in New York, a city I have been drawn to my entire life but never visited. I love how books and movies that are set in New York seem to have a similar story. I mean that in the sense that New Yorkers LOVE New York. They are a special breed and describe it a certain way, loving and loving to hate the same aspects and characteristics. The main character isn’t a native New Yorker but becomes part of the city and it seems that once you live there, that’s it. New York is it. Now, this isn’t really what the book is about, it’s a side tangent, but it’s one of the joys of reading, isn’t it? There are the words the author puts on the page and the ideas and stories the writer means to tell, and then there are the words the readers read and the stories we see in our minds. What a reader takes away from a book is completely out of the control of an author. Each experience can be a little or immensely different than the next, it’s phenomenal really. (It may also be one of the reasons writers are a bit…funny!)
I can’t tell you much about the novel less I give the plot away. The story is not what it seems at the start and I was surprised, delighted, intrigued, felt a little sad at times. I enjoyed Serle’s prose and imagery and really didn’t want to see the end of the book. I also experienced a bit of nostalgia for people who have moved past this life as I thought about what it would mean to sit down for a meal just one more time.