Sunday, January 3, 2010

"True Confections"

Katharine Weber is the author of the novels Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, True Confections, and reported the following:
Page 69 of True Confections is a riff on the narrator’s impossible mother-in-law Frieda and her obsessive cooking habits. Alice’s struggle with Three-Freezer Frieda, as she is known behind her back, begins on the first page of the novel. On page 69, she observes: “Frieda loved to cook and bake and freeze. How many times did she confound my kids by inviting them over with a promise that she was baking her delicious walnut cookies, only to offer them semi-thawed, dried-out walnut cookies from the freezer? These they were expected to enjoy while sitting at the kitchen table breathing in the wafting aroma that lingered from the day’s baking, while racks of soft, warm, fragrant walnut cookies cooled all over the kitchen in preparation for layering in wax paper and entombment in those plastic freezer boxes she cherished.”

While page 69 makes no mention of most of the major elements in the novel -- from the ins and outs of candy production and Alice’s accidental burning of a classmate’s house (which earns her the lifelong nickname “Arson Girl”), to issues of race and religious identity, the problematic nature of a candy inspired by Little Black Sambo, the subtle racism in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice’s explanation of the failed Madagascar Plan of the Third Reich -- this page exemplifies the frustration that drives her story. Alice’s narrative is a non-stop sardonic report on the Ziplinsky family from her vantage point as the non-Jew who has married in but has never really achieved insider status. She knows them intimately but she is not really one of them and she never will be.
Learn more about the book and author at Katharine Weber's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue