"Mâța Vinerii”/"The Book of Perilous Dishes" has all that it takes to make a captivating story: a good dose of fantasy, an epic thread pleated together with the sure hand of a story-teller who knows how to ensnare you, an atmosphere so powerful that it stays with you long after you have put the book down, and, last but not least, a subtext that sends you towards the mysteries of the World and of Literature. As its events unfold—on the borderline between magic and the fantastic—in the setting of a picturesque Bucharest of around the year 1800 (a pretext, in fact, for a narrative that transcends the specifics of any documentable historical framework), The Book of Perilous Dishes traces, as if in a dream, the limits of a fictional universe in which, as in some alchemist’s alembic, the deceptive substances of the real are mixed in suitable doses with those, so clearly evident, of an unreality (or surreality) that breaks through into the midst of the everyday. Merchants, sorcerers, spiritists, cooks of the Princely Court, lovers, haughty young ladies, ambassadors from diverse lands, mercenaries, officials of the Sublime Porte, princes in exile and princes newly enthroned, schemers of all sorts, revolutionaries, Bonapartists, tricksters, and envoys of Sator populate the carnivalesque space of this novel of fantasy, whose deeper levels lead far into the
distance, towards worlds we could scarcely imagine.
Bianca BURŢA-CERNAT, Observator cultural
“Mâța Vinerii” (The Book of Perilous Dishes) - “a stylistic jubilation, a vital literature, such as Suskind's “Perfume” to a point, and Evgheni Vodolazkin's “Laur”, from another point on”.
Dan C Mihăilescu