A Hunger by Ross Raisin - review by Paul Genders

Paul Genders

Come Dine with Me

A Hunger

By

Jonathan Cape 455pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

There’s a moment towards the very end of A Hunger when Ross Raisin comes a little too close to admitting what his aim has been all along. Anita, the narrator, is delicately butchering a cow in the upmarket restaurant where she works as a sous chef. Her colleagues, all male, are watching in admiration. Anita enjoys the banter of kitchen life and has the respect of her peers, but after decades in the trade she’s also had her fill of bum pinching and innuendo. ‘Men who will only ever understand the world through the pair of eyes they were born with’ is her assessment of her awed onlookers. They will ‘always be shadowed by the image of themselves.’

What makes this so jarring is that A Hunger is, for most of its length, such a methodical performance. The apparent declaration of its author’s purpose – to move beyond the male gaze and understand how the other half really sees things – is quite blunt, and lands

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