Cookbook Collector (Goodman)

Book Reviews 
Allegra Goodman's new novel has so many appealing ingredients. Where, then, to start the list? Perhaps, as with food labels, it would be best to begin with the biggest: an irresistible story. Then add four strong characters: two sisters, and the two men who orbit them. Then there's the narrative voice: sweet but not cloyingly so, nourishing but not heavy, serving up zesty nuggets of truth. And the spicing is piquant but not too assertive…If you're hankering for a feast of love, let yourself fall under the spell of Allegra Goodman's abundantly delicious tale. You won't leave hungry.
Dominique Browning - New York Times


Fans of Goodman's lovely, nuanced novels have a treat in store with this tale of two sisters.
Entertainment Weekley


(Starred review.) If any contemporary author deserves to wear the mantel of Jane Austen, it's Goodman, whose subtle, astute social comedies perfectly capture the quirks of human nature. This dazzling novel is Austen updated for the dot-com era, played out between 1999 and 2001 among a group of brilliant risk takers and truth seekers. Still in her 20s, Emily Bach is the CEO of Veritech, a Web-based data-storage startup in trendy Berkeley. Her boyfriend, charismatic Jonathan Tilghman, is in a race to catch up at his data-security company, ISIS, in Cambridge, Mass. Emily is low-key, pragmatic, kind, serene—the polar opposite of her beloved younger sister, Jess, a crazed postgrad who works at an antiquarian bookstore owned by a retired Microsoft millionaire. When Emily confides her company's new secret project to Jonathan as a proof of her love, the stage is set for issues of loyalty and trust, greed, and the allure of power. What is actually valuable, Goodman's characters ponder: a company's stock, a person's promise, a forest of redwoods, a collection of rare cookbooks? Goodman creates a bubble of suspense as both Veritech and ISIS issue IPOs, career paths collide, social values clash, ironies multiply, and misjudgments threaten to destroy romantic desire. Enjoyable and satisfying, this is Goodman's (Intuition) most robust, fully realized and trenchantly meaningful work yet.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) Crisp, accomplished Emily Markowitz is CEO of a data-storage startup in late 1990s California. Her sister, Jessica, is a messy, passionate graduate student in philosophy who's involved with the charismatic leader of Tree Savers and works in a rare-books store owned by the older, slightly grumpy George. George got rich off of Microsoft and now follows his first love, and he's impressed when Jess manages something brilliant with a woman who wants but doesn't want to part with an astonishing cookbook collection. Frantically different, the sisters are still bound by memories of the mother they lost as children; Emily strains to persuade Jess to invest in her startup even as Jess strains to see what Emily sees in her fiancé, go-getter Jonathan, who has his own startup back East. Meanwhile, their father, who appreciates techie overachiever Emily more than wise Jess, is strangely resistant to the Bialystokers moving in next door. Alas, 9/11 brings not just family tragedy but the revelation of some uncomfortable truths and a realignment of relationships. Verdict: Do these folks sound like types? They absolutely are not. Goodman (Kaaterskill Falls) is remarkably successful in creating rich, engaging characters and a complex story of love and identity that reads like life itself. Highly recommended. —Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal


Goodman asks the big questions about what money can—and cannot—buy, and how we should live our lives. To those questions, of course, she provides no easy answers.
Bookmarks Magazine


(Starred review.) From mysticism to algorithms, IPOs, and endangered trees and souls, Goodman spins a glimmering tale, spiked with hilarious banter, of ardent individualists, imperiled love, and incandescent interpretations of the mutability and timelessness of the human condition. —Donna Seaman
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