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Hugo Whittier—failed poet and former kept man—is a wily misanthrope with a taste for whiskey, women, and his own cooking. Afflicted with a rare disease that will be fatal unless he quits smoking, Hugo retreats to his once aristocratic family’s dilapidated mansion, determined to smoke himself to death without forfeiting any of his pleasures. To his chagrin, the world that he has forsaken is not quite finished with him. First, his sanctimonious older brother moves in, closely followed by his estranged wife, their alleged daughter, and his gay uncle. Infuriated at the violation of his sanctum, Hugo devises hilariously perverse ploys to send the intruders packing. Yet the unexpected consequences of his schemes keep forcing him to reconsider, however fleetingly, the more wholesome ingredients of love, and life itself.
“Christensen gives a virtuoso performance, tossing off perfect sentences seemingly at random, delivering them with a sneer that makes them more delicious.” —Time
“Deliciously wicked black comedy. . . . The Epicure’s Lament is a razor dissection of the inside of a rogue’s mind, with wonderfully subtle asides into philosophy, literature and, even, food. Hugo is a find. And so is his journal.” —Detroit Free Press