arts 01.2.07

Life, Death, & Bialys

Life, Death, & Bialys by Dylan Schaffer (Bloomsbury, $24.95) is the true story of how a week the author spent with his dying father learning to make breads at the French Culinary Institute downtown helped heal a seriously fractured relationship.

Sounds maudlin, hm? It might have been, had the father in question not been so flawed, so exasperating, so impossible (and yet…), and had the son not harbored such prickly, often unattractive, righteous anger. Those qualities give the book its biggest laughs and its measured poignancy.

It's the story of a baking class, of a family, and of forgiveness. Not a bad note on which to start the year.

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