Comfort Food

Comfort Food: A Novel (IPPY Award Winner for Best Regional Fiction, West–Pacific) by Noah Ashenhurst

When I posted my list of planned reading for the 11 Decades challenge, I included Comfort Food because I liked the title, and because I like reading new authors. Imagine my surprise when the author contacted me and offered a review copy – of course I said yes.

I’m glad I did.

This novel is the story of six Gen-X college students, and the way their lives interweave. We are introduced to all of them in the initial chapter, and then each section gives us a significant moment in each of their lives, finally coming full circle to connect the first person we met to the woman he loves. Because of this structure, Comfort Food reminds me very much of the improv game “Four Square” or “Pan Left” in which there are four players who form different intersecting pairs of relationships.

What I loved most about the novel, however, was the language. Ashenhurst’s descriptions of the Pacific Northwest let you feel the misty air. Whether he’s talking about the pot-stench floating in a cheap off-campus apartment, or the visceral moment when one character realizes his wife is cheating on him, the words chosen give a vivid picture of place, and of the people existing in that place at that time.

I’d love to read more from this author.