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Genre: Commercial Women's Fiction
Bitter & Sweet
The lake in the middle of her father’s kitchen is only the first in a series of disasters in Zeina’s life. Nassar’s recent health crisis has seen his well-established community restaurant, Casablanca, losing ground and customers to trendier competition.
Casablanca’s deterioration is not the only chaos in Zeina’s world but, unlike her husband who won’t speak to her, her best friend who is sliding towards self-destruction, and her cousin who is stealing Zeina’s life story for content, the restaurant is something she can fix. And Zeina, lonely and adrift, needs something she can fix.
Taking leave from her prestigious chef position, Zeina throws herself into caring for her ailing father, immersing herself in the familiar foods and flavours of her childhood, trying to save both him and his restaurant. But working in the kitchen – and her childhood home – brings memories, secrets, and unexpected ambitions simmering to the surface. When it comes time to make hard decisions, Zeina will have to accept that growing up is an ongoing process – one that never gets any easier.
‘Amal weaves love and longing into a rich tapestry of tradition and society, with a sharp but gentle insight.’ Sulari Gentill
‘What a novel is Bitter & Sweet, so bright and alive. With a great warm rush of affection for her characters, Amal Awad offers us a story about place (and displacement), love in all its forms, family…and food! It’s a great big serving of life, with a sprinkle of a heartache for good measure. I loved it.’ – Nigel Featherstone, author of My Heart Is A Little Wild Thing
‘Exquisite, delicious, soulful. I devoured it.’ Kim Lock
‘Bitter and Sweet is a tender ode to the importance of our connections to each other, even when – perhaps especially when – these connections start to fray. The camaraderie of the kitchen is beautifully rendered, shining a light on the ability to nurture our loved ones with food, when words may not come so easily. Amal excels at portraying the myriad ways in which our fractures can actually strengthen us, and our relationships, if we’re open to the lessons they bring us. Bitter and Sweet is full of insight into connection and community; a novel infused with hope.’ Rijn Collins, author of Fed to Red Birds
‘Awad writes with tenderness and honesty. A great read.’ Margaret Hickey, author of Broken Bay
‘A feast of a novel. What a read. I felt as if I was sharing a sumptuous banquet with Zeina and her warm, flawed, passionate world. I loved it.’ Melina Marchetta