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Stanley Park By Timothy Taylor

I must confess to rarely read Canadian non-fiction but this one -  Timothy Taylor’s first novel - caught and held my attention. Stanley Park  weaves several different worlds into a fascinating and surprising story. Jeremey, an idealistic young chef has recently launched the restaurant of his dreams, the Monkey's Paw Bistro. He struggles to be ethical and features only local produce cooked to new and creative international standards. Jeremy is worried about his anthropologist father, known widely as "the professor," who has moved into Vancouver's, Stanley Park - one of the largest city parks in North America. The professor is studying at firsthand, the night people who live in the park. While living there he stumbles across a mystery that's been buried there for almost 50 years. However, Stanley Park is not really a murder mystery. Rather, it explores the father-son relationship in a way that hasn't often been done in literature.
The characters in this novel may seem like caricatures and way over-the-top, but that is what makes it a fun read. The bad guy, the all-powerful and wealthy Dante, owns a chain of successful, soulless, cookie-cutter coffee shops called The Inferno.
Jeremy holds a firm belief that there are only two schools of cooking: Crips and Bloods. If you are familiar with the American gang culture, you will recognize these names as the two most infamous gangs in Los Angeles. Crips, as defined by Jeremy, are pretentious food snobs and will attempt to fuse any flavours just to be outre, with no allegiance to any particular ethnic or culinary root. Blood cooks, such as Jeremy, respect tradition, nostalgia and local culture: grounded cuisine; soul food. Crips avoid lard, fatty foods, strong, earthy flavours, while Bloods praise these ingredients. Crips eat rabbit and fig wontons in a gooseberry coulis; Bloods eat rabbit stew.
Jeremy’s financial problems and his growing involvement in his father’s hobby,take him down strange and unusual paths and eventually lead the reader to a rather fanciful and tasty end.

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