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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lunch Date: The James Boys

posted by on September 3 at 12:00 PM

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(A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who’s your date today? For a change, I closed my eyes and picked a book from our bookshelves at random. I wound up with The James Boys by Richard Liebmann-Smith

Where’d you go? Chaco Canyon Cafe, a vegan cafe in the U District.

What’d you eat? A vegan ruben sandwich with a cup of chili ($9.95).

How was the food? I like eating vegan food every now and againóI’m actually fond of field roast, whatever the fuck that isóbut Chaco Canyon needs to get a new vegan cheese, because their current vegan cheese tastes like vomit. Once I pulled the offending yellow triangles off, everything was great: the sauerkraut wasn’t too wet, the bread was great. The chili was more like a bean soup, but it was pretty good, too. I can totally see myself returning for a sandwich with no cheese and one of their soups, which I’m pretty sure are made fresh onsite every day.

What does your date say about itself? Kirkus Reviews says that this is “a debut novel that imagines two sets of real-life James brothers, novelist Henry and psychologist William, and desperadoes Frank and Jesse, are related…”

Is there a representative quote? “In his later years, after the turn of the century, James would be widely revered as “The Master,” with an imposing ouvre comprising dozens of novels, scores of novellas, and hundreds of short stories. But in that centennial summer of 1976, all of this was far ahead of him and by no means assured as his destiny. He was still in the thrall of what he once called “the hungry futurity of youth,” and we can only imagine the maelstrom of emotion generated by the fledgling author’s realization that this lovely woman was in fact perusing his very own words.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Nope. I like Henry James, but I’m not one of those people who thinks he’s the be-all end-all. And the writing in this book has flashes of greatness, but it’s full of book report-style exposition like in the above quote. I’ll pay attention to Richard Liebmann-Smith’s next book to be sure, but this one left me cold.

RSS icon Comments

1

Amen about the vegan cheese. Their sandwiches are mostly okay, but those orange triangles are fricking toxic. Georgetown Liquor Company gets it right--take a note, Chaco Canyon.

Posted by MJ | September 3, 2008 12:17 PM
2

Reuben.

Good point, MJ.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 3, 2008 12:20 PM
3

It's all about the soup there. Big bowl of tomato soup, some crunchy toast on the side -- perfection.

Posted by Charity | September 3, 2008 1:54 PM
4

WTF is even IN vegan cheese? I shudder to think.

Some foods should not be fucked with. Especially cheeses.

Posted by geni | September 3, 2008 2:19 PM
5

I am thinking you really mean 1876 here, because all 4 Jameses were dead by 1916. 1976 was the BIcentennial year I remember so very well, because it was marketed by USofA Incorporated so inescapably that even Elton John cashed in w/ "Philadelphia Freedom". This was marketing that Hannah Montana would kill for.

Posted by E | September 3, 2008 4:14 PM
6

Pointless late comment, but: I thought The Education of Henry James, wonderful title, would grab me for longer than it did. 50% superb and 50% incapacitatingly overprivileged. That may be the way we all come across when we're younger, but did Henry James succeed in growing up? (I never finished his Education.)

Posted by Amelia | September 4, 2008 1:51 AM
7

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Posted by gxluc hnfoujy | September 7, 2008 12:01 PM

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