The Dangers of Truffle Hunting – Sunni Overend

I saw this book in a bookstore a few weeks ago, and was instantly drawn to its beautiful cover. I know you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover, but… I do.

It’s not a huge surprise to learn that author Sunni Overend studied graphic design and ran her own online fashion store. (I know, some people have all the talents, it’s unfair.) I suspect she had something to do with the direction of the pretty front cover…

But anyway, once inside the book itself, I was also delighted.

This is an easy and pleasant book to read. The writing is clever and surprising, made to seem effortless. Overend doesn’t muck around with hefty descriptions and setting up the storyline, she just dives right in and by page 7 we have already met the subject of our protagonist’s love interest.

In a nutshell, Kit Gossard is a food stylist and photographer engaged to a career driven and self-absorbed furniture designer. She finds herself with a stable job working for a creatively restrictive food magazine, and with a stable relationship, but she wants more. This hunger is intensified when she meets a ruggedly handsome man working on her parents’ winery. She. Wants. Him. Bad.

I love the book’s characters and their witty banter. I especially love the relationship between main character Kit and her brother Marc, who bicker and squabble like little children. There’s also some lovely imagery around food and interesting writing around the creative process of capturing it:

The chopsticks were the disposable kind.

Kit snapped them apart, spread them in a vertical row like soldiers, then cocked her head to appraise the pile of rubbish out of frame.

Shreds of cheap Japanese paper packaging lay torn where Kit had discarded them and she squinted at the calligraphy print then retrieved it from the pile.

A bowl of miso (steaming), dried noodles (square), sushi (three rounds), daikon (shredded), wasabi and ginger (pickled), all appeared on a tray courtesy of Kit’s assistant, Ellie.

You can expect gorgeous descriptions of foods, Overend capturing the colours, textures and tastes beautifully.

I found some examples of delightfully simple, clever writing in here:

Kit put on a smile but it slid off.

and:

He kissed the top of her head like a handshake at the end of a business transaction.

This is the story of someone who wants more. It’s the story of a creative person whose passion is being stifled, and how she finds her way out of that.

There she stayed, felt the wounds of the day slowly knit themselves closed, and when her soul had reassembled itself, she inhaled, and it appeared.

The feeling and the word came and she reached for the keyboard, typing the word into the blank title space on the cover page of the magazine.

Hunger.

Read this book if you:

  • Feel hungry
  • Are creative
  • Love fine foods and wine
  • Just want to sit back and read about someone’s life falling to pieces and then coming back together perfectly. Too perfectly.
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