The characters of elderly Grace and her girlfriends will draw readers to Grace’s Table like bees to honey cake. These women don’t heed the rules for ageing quietly, and they pull us into their past and present with their wisecracking talk, acerbic wit and the quiet wisdom of their lives. But the younger characters in Grace’s difficult family, street-smart, funny, nearly upstage them over a long lunch in which food is a character itself, filling this fine novel with the after-taste of roast garlicky lamb, sponge cake straight from a country fair, tomatoes fresh from the vine.
This is a wonderful book reflecting on love, relationships, friendship and all of it centred around food.
The lovely simple gestures of cooking trigger intimate thoughts and memories. Piper captures all this with the deft touch of a home cook who understands the undercurrents that flavour the simplest domestic and social dynamics.
Grace’s Table is a novel for women about the love, betrayal and grief most experience in a lifetime. But, on a deeper level, Sally uses Grace as a vehicle to break down stereotypes.
An eminently readable first novel, especially if your taste runs to foodfic (do not read this book while hungry). It’s also refreshing to read such appetising evocations of food and its preparation that are so distinctively Australian in flavour. Piper vividly brings this woman to life, and in doing so imparts some interesting commentary on everything from Australian small-town racism to the differences in women’s lives over four generations.