“Cumyn’s novellas hark back to the intrigue and nostalgic elegance of manly works from the 1920s: a sort of cross between Maurice Dekobra and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” — Kathleen Winter
“simply masterful, three nimble novellas that are sensual, smart, and very funny. This rich volume boasts a crowded cast of travelers and dancers and vineyard denizens, and political satire that is poker-faced, yet strangely giddy, an odd reality of harmony and discord, a weird mirror land that is us, and piquant prose so good it must be fattening.”
— Mark Anthony Jarman, author of Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, My White Planet, and 19 Knives
Famous Last Meals is a trio of contemporary novellas about the roles we play in an age when everyone is an actor. The curtain opens on “Candidates,” a gentle satire starring a recent university grad who knows and cares little about politics but who finds himself working as a summer intern on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. “Famous Last Meals” examines two couples and their complex relationship as they re-enact the final repasts of famous people who died before the age of 30. “The Woman in the Vineyard” completes the triptych with a compulsive story about literary jealousy and the danger of becoming lost in the labyrinth of another writer’s sources.
Watch Richard Cumyn on Kingston’s TV COGECO, speaking about CanLit and his latest, Famous Last Meals.
“As Richard Cumyn proves in this collection of three short works, when pulled off correctly, the novella can be more satisfying and layered than even the most complex novel.” —Michael Melgaard, Maple Tree Literary Supplement
“…the prose and characterization are so good that I trust them at least as much as myself.” — Literary Review of Canada
“moments of astute political satire, contrasted with interpersonal challenges and communications breakdowns.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Cumyn has absolute control over the very clear and clever narration of his characters, and can draw them into madness and violence without also drawing his prose into histrionics.” — Antigonish Review