Cover image for The breadmaker's carnival
The breadmaker's carnival
Lindsay, Andrew, 1955-
Personal Author:
First HarperCollins edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ecco Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xii, 324 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Previously published: St Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 1998.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the town of Bacherotto, remarkable forces of faith, sex, and hunger are driving the inhabitants into uncontrollable frenzies of bizarre and unexplained behaviors. The baker Gianni Terremoto begins to knead his rolls and sourdough breads in the form of his lover's breasts. His lusty daughter, Francesca, is about to become enshrined as the new local saint. His girlfriend Luigi Bacheretti is intent on photographing God. The local priest is convinced that the Virgin Mary has appeared to him, demanding that his congregation renounce the flesh -- an imperative that comes shortly after two amputees stage a popular ballet recital that celebrates the leg.

These extraordinary events occur in the year when Good Friday and April Fool's Day coincide. Gainni, born on April Fool's Day Day, decides to bake a hot cross bun surpassing any that has ever been. The results -- hilarious, surprising, rejuvenating -- are beyond any that he and the townsfolk could have expected.

A brilliant story of what happens when Easter and Carnival collide and when the community becomes controlled by its libido, The Breadmaker's Carnival defies both the sacred and profane.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Like a Bosch painting, Andrew Lindsay's first novel is an exploration of frenzy. Set in a small village many decades ago, the novel is populated by characters who are all either hurt or hurting: a haunted priest who performs an infibulation, a one-legged dancer who stars in her own dance recital, an old man attempting to take a portrait of God using a tadpole pool, a baker who cannot make hot cross buns, and his child--who is about to become the village martyred Madonna. All of them are involved in, are witness to, or are triggering the frenzy about to overtake the town of Bacheretto when Good Friday and April Fools' conspire to occur on the same day. The resulting carnival is both a celebration of excess and a revelation/resolution of the town's secrets. Lindsay's language sometimes plays with the reader, punning and sly, and the world he imagines is deeply textured. As the party unfolds in a strange and unruly progression, it presents a denouement few will escape. --Neal Wyatt

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a year when Good Friday and April Fool's Day coincide, forces are set loose that profoundly transform the inhabitants of a small Italian village. Lindsay's ambitious jumble of a novel features an eclectic dramatis personae, all of whom live in the village of Bacheretto. Gianni Terremoto is a porcine baker trying to cope with a moody daughter and a frustrated lover; Luigi Bacheretti is a reclusive would-be inventor who raises chickens for obscure scientific purposes; Emile Pestoso unnerves as a tortured priest struggling with issues of faith and repressed sexuality. The supporting cast is no less off-kilter, including one-legged ballerina Pia Zanetti and one-handed mason Stefano Costa. Lindsay leisurely charts the romantic and social entanglements of these odd characters, creating something akin to a surreal soap opera. The collective sexual tension and confusion builds to critical mass, resulting in the titular "breadmaker's carnival," during which Gianni feeds cakes concocted from narcotics, aphrodisiacs and hallucinogens to his neighbors. The result is an orgy of saturnalian ferocity, a startling, extraordinarily disquieting set piece that allows Lindsay to effectively blend his defense of the inherent beauty and nobility of the human body with his concern about the evil latent in even the seemingly purest of souls. Stories revolving around artisan foodstuffs and bizarre rituals are a genre unto themselves by now, but Lindsay refrains from resorting to stereotype. Readers frustrated by the cozyness of novels like Joanne Harris's Chocolat but drawn to the subject matter will find this a more challenging variation. Despite some earthy, energetic and self-assured prose, the novel never truly gels, but it always aspires to powerful, provocative levels of insight. The publisher is crowing that the book has "all the charm of Under the Tuscan Sun"; booksellers who pick up on the comparison may move copies quickly. (Dec. 12) FYI: Lindsay was joint winner of the Australian 1996 Jim Hamilton Award for this novel. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A dying old man speaks into his grandson's Sony tape machine, just in time to recollect the details of one very odd Italian holiday season. It seems that a strange old family painting, reminiscent of Bruegel's bizarre Battle Between Carnival and Lent, is an artist's interpretation of real events in the troubled town of Bacheretto, a.k.a. "Little Italy." In a particular year, All Fool's Day and Good Friday arrive simultaneously, setting the stage for some extraordinary events. Gianni, the town's corpulent and lusty baker, is especially frustrated by his annual failure to produce good hot cross buns for the Easter season. Resolving to celebrate his April 1 birthday by baking pagan cakes instead, he mischievously doses his dough with a strong aphrodisiac. What Gianni does not know is that his flour is contaminated with a dangerous hallucinogenic fungus. The resulting sexual, mental, and spiritual frenzy is both shocking and revelatory. Adventurous readers will enjoy this energetic and fantastic exploration of the human libido unbound.DStarr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.