Reviews

'A colourful life, brilliantly imagined… Romance and adventure drip off every page… Of course, we all know that with every passing chapter we are one step closer to the guillotine. Just as with Perfume by Patrick Suskind and Pure by Andrew Miller, placing this story in pre-Revolutionary France lends it an edge as well as a strange sort of romance… Not an ounce of fat.' The Times

‘I will never look at tigers, or candles, or cheese in the same way. A sensuous ride through eighteenth century France…’ Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist

An astonishing, sensual feast which will appeal to those who enjoyed Patrick Suskind’s Perfume… It feels like Grimwood has cut loose and written the book he was always meant to, with equal parts lush, sumptuous prose, convincing historical seasoning, and a cast of believable, human characters which will leave you sated and satisfied. Tastes like awesome.' The Independent

'There’s an element of the fantastical in this darkly engaging, quasi-picaresque novel, but it may also be read as a kind of social history of 18th-century France, told in a style both sensuous and lean, both colorful and matter-of-fact. Part Gil Blas, part Brillat-Savarin, with maybe a touch of Huysmans…' Wall Street Journal

'Jonathan Grimwood’s latest novel is intriguing, fanciful, philosophical and told with an admirable lightness of touch. It is well worth the short time it will take to devour.' The Daily Mail

‘Vividly evoked… A fuly-realized protagonist, at once sober, self reliant, and inventive.’ The New Yorker

'Fiction with a superb central premise… The Last Banquet sweeps with enviable confidence from the era of aristocratic hubris to revolutionary dissolution.' The Telegraph

'Jean-Marie d’Aumout ne manque pas de goût… Ce Dernier Banquet est à dévorer sur-le-champ…’ Le Figaro

'The story of a lucky and good man in Enlightenment France, a diamond in the dungheap. Brave, resourceful, kind, ardent… Jonathan Grimwood's intelligent story of lost innocence might look modish with its foodie preoccupations and recipes for delicacies such as pickled wolf heart (tastes like dog) and three snake bouillabaisse (tastes like fish)… But it follows convincingly in the traditions of Patrick Suskind's Perfume & Andrew Millar's Pure.' The Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

''A true feast for the senses... Such is the richness of the story telling that the reader is persuaded that it could be fact.' The Scotsman

'There is a delicacy and accuracy to Grimwood’s prose that is perfectly suited to writing about food. It works for people too... In fact, it is as delicious and as full of surprises as one of the young Jean-Marie’s rabbit stews.' The Sunday Express

'From A Tale of Two Cities to Les Miserables, the French Revolution has it all… And The Last Banquet is a worthy addition.' Metro - Essential Reads

‘The food lover’s answer to Patrick Süskind’s Perfume and a book which many have named as their book of the year.’ Viv Groskop

'Un grand roman noir, sensual, décadant et sensible dans l’esprit de Suskind…’ Le Petit Journal

'The Last Banquet is a feast for the senses; dark, sensual and unexpected. I loved it...' Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You

‘Grimwood’s prose is elegant, verging on the Dickensian, and his storytelling ability is compelling… An amazing gift.’ New Pages (US)

'The author’s creativity and his immense gifts for description are astonishing on all levels…'  Mary Whipple

‘Racily picaresque, energetic and clever. History is deftly and diligently interposed with the detail of a life… The writing flares into brilliance.' The Guardian'

'Leisurely but never dull…. Grimwood has the gift of making a character’s sensual pleasures as alive to the reader as to they are to him.' Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

'Grimwood’s brilliantly evocative new book reads like a cross between Patrick Süskind and Angela Carter. Set in the 18th century, it’s the story of Jean-Marie d’Aumont, an orphan with a powerful appetite who was born into an impoverished noble family. When we meet him, he’s eating dung beetles, but he’ll go on to concoct imaginative recipes for everything from dogs to tiger flesh. But as Jean-Marie’s fortunes improve, so does social tension both at home and in America, and he comes to realise that “history will happen. It cannot be denied”.' Irish Times

'A world you completely lose yourself in… French Gatsby territory! Opulent, sensuous, sumptuous.' BBC Radio 2 Arts Show

'A delicious sensory overload...' Marina O'Loughlin, Guardian restaurant reviewer

'Such sumptuous prose you want to lick it off a spoon.' Megan Sullivan, head buyer, Harvard Book Store

It would be very lazy reviewing to compare this to Patrick Suskind’s Perfume but a) there are obvious parallels between the two books, b) Grimwood’s evocation of the sense of taste has no other sensual rival among the novels I have read and c) I am a very lazy reviewer. 

Make of that what you will, but I should add that I consider Perfume to be a modern classic and The Last Banquet is easily its equall. I rarely get to the end of a book and wish it were longer. This is one of those rare occasions. I spent two days in the company of Jean-Marie d-Aumout, I would have loved to spend two weeks. http://meandmybigmouth

'I'm delighted to say that one of the books I was most anticipating not only met my inflated expectations, but exceeded them. The Last Banquet is like a cake, an onion, a feast, a clock, a... It is your metaphor of choice. Something both simple and complex, instantly comprehensible and infinitely layered. Filthy and beautiful, provocative and sensitive, this is one for the ages.' Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood may be the best book I've read this year…  Quite wonderful. Scott Pack

'From the moment I encountered four-year-old Jean-Marie d'Aumout sitting on a dung heap eating beetles, I was obsessed by this sensuous tale of one man's search for the perfect taste. The journey takes d'Aumout from poverty to riches as he mingles with the great, the good and the utterly corrupt in an 18th century France heading inexorably towards revolution. Part Perfume, part Pure, 100% original.' Harpers Bazaar

‘Wonderfully enjoyable. Grimwood captures the colour, the decadence and tawdry glamour of Versailles beautifully. I loved the complexity of the relationships, and its sensual quality reminded me at times of Angela Carter… Masterful.’ Carol Birch, author of Jamrach’s Menagerie

'The Last Banquet has been compared to Patrick Suskind’s Perfume and the comparison is valid [however] the writing seems somehow more vibrant. By the end of the book you can’t help but feel that if France had been peopled by a few more eccentrics like D’Aumont it may have never torn itself apart….' WeLoveThisBook.com

'In 18th Century France Jean Marie d'Aumout is plucked from obscurity and taken under th wing of mysterious aristocrats. This man is obsessed by taste and food. His life takes him from poverty to the palace of Versailles. The Last Banquet is a tantalising tale, be prepared for some dark mystery and decadent recipes. A must for lovers of Patrick Suskind's Perfume and Andrew Millar's Pure…' Booksellers' Choice July, The Bookseller

'Grimwood brings an authenticity to this unusual tale, which underlies the audacity of the story… All of this is done with a lilt of language that feels like it has been lovingly translated from the French. With this, the decadence of 18th Century France is described in almost poetic details, which mirror the evocative descriptions of the foods Jean-Marie samples as well as his sexual encounters. This makes the book feel equally as self-indulgent as the era and as charming as our protagonist is portrayed.' Curious Book Fans

'I absolutely adored it. It is full of desire and is romantic and filthy and passionate. Wonderfully written and attention-grabbing and keeping…' @bookcunt

© Jonathan Grimwood