What’s it all about?:
Always let the meat rest under foil for at least ten minutes before carving… Meet Lizzie Prain. Ordinary housewife. Fifty-something. Lives in a cottage in the woods, with her dog Rita. Likes cooking, avoids the neighbours. Runs a little business making cakes. No one has seen Lizzie’s husband, Jacob, for a few days. That’s because last Monday, on impulse, Lizzie caved in the back of his head with a spade. And if she’s going to embark on the new life she feels she deserves after thirty years in Jacob’s shadow, she needs to dispose of his body. Her method appeals to all her practical instincts, though it’s not for the faint-hearted. Will Lizzie have the strength to follow it through? Dark, funny and achingly human, Season to Taste is a deliciously subversive treat. In the shape of Lizzie Prain, Natalie Young has created one of the most remarkable heroines in recent fiction.
What did I think?:
A big thank you to the lovely people at Book Bridgr and Tinder Press/Headline for allowing me to read this very dark and unique novel. The title kind of says it all so no spoilers there! In short, it is about a fifty-something woman called Lizzie Prain whom after thirty years of marriage decides to take a shovel to her husband’s head. The only problem now is, what to do with the body? Ah, yes the obvious solution – eat it. In this way, the power in the relationship which often lay on her husband’s side could be taken back and she could regain control over her life. Her husband’s sudden disappearance may pose certain questions, but if she pretends that he has run off with another woman, everything should be perfect. What Lizzie doesn’t realise is how difficult eating her husband will be so she writes a list of notes to help her along the way. For example ideas for various dishes using the human meat, reminders of how awful her marriage had become, positive reinforcements and advice to herself should the police come knocking. For example:
81. Your husband’s will now be in your mouth and oesophagus, your gullet, stomach and intestines.
82. If you have managed to go to the loo yet, he will have also come out already as waste.
83. Look at the poo.
Hopefully, this gives you a good idea about how grim this novel actually is. And this is one of the tamer quotes! As Lizzie continues to eat her husband piece by piece, organ by organ (yes, even the eyeball gets a “look” in!) she focuses on her end-goal. This is to escape to Scotland and start a new life where no one knows her or that she ever had a husband at all. However a problem arises in the form of Tom who works at the local garden centre and almost instantly befriends Lizzie. His grandfather is a bit suspicious about where Lizzie’s husband has disappeared to and on top of that her new friend Tom actually wants to come into her house and sit in the kitchen. With bags of a dismembered body hanging around? That could be a tricky one.The question is, will Lizzie succeed in her mission and escape to Scotland? Or will somebody find out what has happened and bring her to justice?
I found this novel absolutely fascinating and at the same time, incredibly disgusting. I think it has to be the darkest thing I have ever read and although I’m not a squeamish type at all I found myself wincing and feeling nauseated at particular moments. The “hand,” dinner was probably the worst for me but there is certainly grimness to be found on almost each page. Did I enjoy it? For the most part, I have to say I did. It felt like a very unique read and I did enjoy the numbered lists that Lizzie made for herself. As to a motive for killing her husband, there isn’t really one I don’t think – perhaps a temporary moment of insanity would explain things a bit better. Although, perhaps the author isn’t trying to give Lizzie a motive, maybe she suggests that we never know what we may be capable of? This is a dark and very gory read so definitely NOT for those of a nervous or delicate disposition! Personally, it kept me intrigued right through to the end and I’m quite excited to see what this author does next.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):