Maxime Francout Francout itibaren Pasar Terusan, Muara Bulian, Batang Hari Regency, Jambi, Endonezya
A good overview of the cocktail and its history though it only provides an in-depth look at the Martini and its development. There is a very good selection of drink recipes but they suffer (at least from a U.S. point-of-view) from using centiliter versus oz. proportions. This makes all of the recipes non-standard for jigger sizes and creates a lot of need for conversion on-the-fly. Also, several of the recipes have been altered by the author in proportions or ingredients enough to make them slightly off-kilter. It gets bonus points for the print and binding quality as well as the intersting classic liquor artwork and photography reprinted throughout. It makes a poor 'behind the bar' book but will be a handy reference book from time-to-time.
Naipaul is ultimately more cynical and derisive than he is revealing, and this book is a prime example. At best, there some kind of enchantment you experience when he lines the words up just right, but more often you wonder why he bothers at all since everything is so screwed. Perhaps my discontent with this work has to do with my understanding of (or hope for) the human condition. This book allows little of that really, except for the peculiar speech included at the end where he weighs in on the "universal civilization" as it deems it, while never truly defining it. My interpretation is that this is 'Western civilisation' in its most tolerant of manifestations. What a wholly unsatisfying addendum, which raise more questions about the author's loyalty to American and British publishers, that it answers or postulates about just about anything. I suppose it doesn't help that in person he happens to be supremely disagreeable and arrogant and apparently believes that his work, as with all literature is "not for children" as he informed an initially eager audience of high-school students during a recent visit to his homeland, Trinidad and Tobago.
As a basic "good vs. evil" adventure, this was fine. It didn't have the elements that normally draw me, but it hinted at them: magic, complexity, shades of grey. Reasons why the villains were the villains and the good guys were the good guys. Instead it had children who were thrown into a quest and had not motivations to finish it other than an instinctual drive to be "good". But what does good really mean? That I am still not as sure of. But on the whole not a bad way to spend a couple of evenings.