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Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit    by Adam Schell order for
Tomato Rhapsody
by Adam Schell
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

It's hard to believe that a rhapsody on tomatoes could be this much fun. Imagine a story set in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany in the 1600s with young star-crossed lovers, exquisite descriptions of food from seed to gestation, a village of characters who speak in rhyme and a profligate Grand Duke who wishes life were simpler, and you are only beginning to understand the magic of Adam Schell's story.

Davido is an Ebreo (Jew) who knows how to grow luscious tomatoes, but he's not quite sure how they should be cooked. Mari is a Cattolica (Catholic) olive farmer who is not afraid of very much, least of all, experimenting with what has been grown. Their paths should never have crossed, but once they do, an entire village experiences upheaval on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are some very good men in this story who know how to put things in perspective for everybody, along with some other types who are equally bawdy and wicked. You will see, getting there is half the fun!

In between the plot twists, Author Schell instructs us in early Italian dialects, a philosophy of drama, and the source of many Italian expressions. The last sentence of the book sums it all up: 'And they laughed because those things that all decent people adore - love, justice, olives, tomatoes and a happy ending - had won the day, and these were things worth laughing over.'

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