The Thick And The Lean Book
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RELEASE DATE - 5 SEPTEMBER 2023
From the acclaimed author of The Seep, comes a provocative and astonishing new novel where three women from a strange new world seek to break free of a society that wants to constrain their attitudes to food, sex and their own bodies.
In the quaint religious town of Seagate, abstaining from food brings one closer to God.
But Beatrice Bolano is hungry. She craves the forbidden: butter, flambé, marzipan. As Seagate takes increasingly extreme measures to regulate every calorie its citizens consume, Beatrice must make a choice: give up her secret passion for cooking or leave the only community she has known.
Elsewhere, Reiko Rimando has left her modest roots for a college tech scholarship in the big city. A flawless student, she is set up for success . . . until her school pulls her funding, leaving her to face either a mountain of debt or a humiliating return home. But Reiko is done being at the mercy of the system. She forges a third path―outside of the law.
With the guidance of a mysterious cookbook written by a kitchen maid centuries ago, Beatrice and Reiko each grasp for a life of freedom―something more easily imagined than achieved in a world dominated by catastrophic corporate greed.
A startling fable of the entwined perils of capitalism, body politics, and the stigmas women face for appetites of every kind, Chana Porter’s profound new novel explores the reclamation of pleasure as a revolutionary act.
"Porter’s newest is simultaneously a dark capitalist dystopia and a sexy allegory of queerness. It takes on the toxicity of purity movements and beauty culture in a well-built world where sex is encouraged and indulged but chewing in public is taboo. Porter’s narrative digs into how religion and capitalism infiltrate societal norms on a big scale and into the pain of unlearning trauma and fat-shaming on a deeper scale, while delivering the stories of two lovable, complex characters and a convincing, moving conclusion."
"The Thick and the Lean delivers on premise and promise alike. Food kept aside as an ultimate taboo feels foreign in our world, but the way Chana Porter interweaves this with all-too-familiar societal fatphobia and examinations of oppressive cultural structures, these elements lean the premise into the real and surreal simultaneously, and this on its own is a feat worth commending."
Chicago Review of Books