Matt Thorne

Modern Gothic

The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs

By

Jonathan Cape 400pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

Food (along with drugs and alcohol) has always played an important role in Irvine Welsh’s fiction. One of the many ways in which he emphasises the class divide between his characters is through diet. The most unpleasant scene in Trainspotting described a waitress taking revenge on unpleasant patrons in a posh restaurant by doctoring their dishes in innovative ways, and in his fifth book, Filth, he combined a specific description of every last service-station snack consumed by his policeman protagonist with the unruly observations of the supernaturally sensitive tapeworm that roomed in his oversized gut. So when Welsh announced in pre-publication interviews that his new book would be called The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, it seemed likely that the novel would be a satirical look at the middle-class obsession with food. But aside from a small role for a celebrity chef, and a (perhaps surprising) brief appreciation of Anthony Bourdain’s connection of cooking with punk rock, the title turns out to be a red herring.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The lack of evidence ... of any definitive brain pathology in cases of schizophrenia and the absence of any reliab… ,
    • 'Since Dylan’s commercial and ideological heyday, the intrusion of sociology, semiology and post-structuralist thou… ,
    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,