I’ve just written to the few people I know reading or having copies (that I gave them) of Maine author Carolyn Chute’s just-out novel, The Recipe for Revolution (Grove Press). The paper jacket has this Kirkus Review recommendation: “Essential Reading.” I agree. It’s a big book, 732 pages—good for pandemic-time/isolation reading. On pp. 666-675 Chute does an exposure of our U.S. racism’s roots through the eyes/mind of Blake who is mixed—”Some of my family is white by marriage and we got the Indian factor. But we’re labeled ‘Black’. And we’re labeled ‘inner city,’ which is like being labeled ‘toilet.’ This didn’t happen overnight. It’s the setup.” People with the book—read these pages for good enlightenment. Other people, get the book and read it from start to finish for pleasure and enlightenment. Story is set in rural Maine.
Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord mailed mine to me and to the family and friends I gave this treat, excellent writing and mind-stretching. The cover also has on it: Winner of the PEN New England Award for Literary Excellence in Fiction. Long ago Chute fans enjoyed her Beans of Egypt, Maine. She hasn’t stopped writing. We corresponded a while, and now I know she writes her first drafts by hand—a neighbor puts it into the computer to send to the publisher. Humbling! Makes me think of Tolstoy’s War and Peace being written by hand (his wife taking dictation and using the pen)!
Lynn Rudmin Chong