Farrar. Apr. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9780374602451. $28. F
Popisho, an archipelago of unknown location or era is a magical place and one that defies description—much like Ross’s book itself. The people of Popisho have their own magic, or cors. Cors takes many forms, with some residents developing incredible abilities, like the macaenus Xavier Redchoose, a once-in-a-generation master chef so gifted he is destined to make each resident of the islands of Popisho their own perfect meal, composed of ingredients he knows they need rather than want. Xavier is a complicated man, full of struggles and regrets. Much of the story is about his deciding and preparing (or not) a wedding feast for the daughter of Popisho’s corrupt governor. The language of Popisho is a feast itself—richly descriptive, earthy, colorful, and unrestrained.
VERDICT Xavier might be the main course of this tale, but there are many components here, including the role and power of women, broken government, poverty, prejudice, and judgment, all richly blended in an unforgettable work of magical realism by Ross (Come Let Us Sing Anyway).
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