Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tomato Rhapsody-Adam Schell

Tomato Rhapsody
Adam Schell
Delacorte, Jun 23 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780385343336

In sixteenth century Tuscany, ebreho farmer Davido loves his tomato plants that his grandfather brought back from his voyage with Columbus; The Jew relishes the bright color to the incredible aroma that makes him feel pure of heart though his future in-laws fear he loves the plant more than his betrothed. New town priest The Good Padre permits Davido to bring his “love apples” to town, the Jew is ecstatic.

Meanwhile vile olive mogul and village owner Giuseppe and his henchman Benito search for truffles. His stepdaughter olive farmer Mari is attracted to the unacceptable outsider as Jews are less than the beasts of burden and besides Giuseppe has plans for her and her land. At the Feast of the Drunken Saint donkey race all hell breaks loose as everyone wants a piece of something or someone leading to “a comedy of errors” that prove “much ado about nothing”.

With homage (or perhaps chutzpah) to the Bard especially A Merchant of Venice, TOMATO RHAPSODY is an amusing Elizabethan Era tale of greed and love. The story line is kept at a frantic pace throughout as one thing leads to another. Although none of the characters (except the tomatoes) ever develop beyond a simple stereotype, fans who enjoy a zany historical caper will want to read Davido the ebreho’s adventures in Tuscany.

Harriet Klausner

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