The Politics of Barbecue: A Novel
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Full press kit in PDF form
Reading Group Guide
News, Interviews, and Reviews
The Politics of Barbecue is selected as one of five finalist for the ForeWord Reviews First Fiction award. The winner will be announced October 30, 2012.
"In this election year, let’s hear it for Pete Pigg! The mayor of Memphis has a winning idea: a World Barbecue Hall of Fame."
—Jim Shahin, Washington Post (October 9, 2012)
"Good food should be free from the foul taste of politics, but when competition enters into it, it can become a war worse than any presidential race. The Politics of Barbecue is a fun delve into the world of barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee. Pete Pigg has a booming business, and keeps it that way by getting himself elected mayor and creating a Barbecue Hall of Fame in his honor. When some sour deals start to bubble over, it all starts to fall apart. With some allegory to modern politics, The Politics of Barbecue is a fun and much recommended pick, highly recommended."
—Midwest Book Review
"Meaty Subject for a Book," Peggy Burch, Commercial Appeal (September 18, 2012)
"Well done," Nancy Pate, PateBooks.com (September 18, 2012)
Blake Fontenay speaks at length with WYPL's "Book Talk" (also posted at MysteryPod) at the The Bar-B-Q Shop in Memphis.
"River City politics provide the setting for Blake Fontenay's spoofy thriller," by Ralph Bowden and Chapter16.org
Also ran in the Commercial Appeal
Also ran in Nashville Scene
The Politics of Barbecue is one of Library Journal's "Editors’ Picks from BookExpo America 2012: From Magick to BBQ & Backlist": "As a Southerner, I couldn’t resist a debut novel titled The Politics of Barbecue. ... Author Blake Fontenay satirizes political greed and corruption in this rollicking tale of a Memphis mayor—and owner of a popular barbecue joint—with grand plans to build the World Barbecue Hall of Fame. Talk about pork barrel politics!" (July 10, 2012)
Publishers Weekly calls The Politics of Barbecue a "satirical, energetic debut novel...By turns gritty and funny, the plot also employs enough unexpected twists to engross the reader in Fontenay’s sendup of contemporary Southern politics and culture." (July 16, 2012)
"Debut author Blake Fontenay explores politics, greed, and corruption," SecondandChurch.com (May 2012)
"Fontenay’s attention to detail in describing the Memphis political scene is outstanding, while vividly rich descriptions of downtown Memphis and the tourist hot spots abound. His take on Memphis and politics is particularly insightful, but that should come as no surprise since Fontenay spent years as a Memphis journalist before joining Tennessee state government as a communications officer. Readers will feel like they’ve travelled to Memphis after this read. ... This book is great for fiction fans who enjoy Southern culture and/or Tennessee-centric stories. It’s a must-have for public library fiction collections. The attention to details makes this a real taste of Memphis. Readers will be hungry for Memphis barbecue and ready for Election Day so they can keep the scum out of office."
—Tennessee Library Association
Praise for Blake Fontenay
“The South has long been waiting on ‘the Great Barbecue Novel.’ It has finally arrived. Blake Fontenay, whose prose is silkier than a sow's ear, and who clearly knows his way around all things Memphis, gifts us with a raucous story and a cast of characters far motlier than most. If Carl Hiaasen lived in Tennessee, this is the book he’d write.”
—Bob Morris, author of Baja Florida, The Man with the Fish on His Foot, and Short Road to Hell
“In this brilliantly conceived Southern satire, the peculiar religion of what has become known as ‘Memphis barbecue’ is the basis of a wild comedy in which the eccentric forces of light are pitted against the dark dealers of unchecked power. . . . With a delightful coup de maître, Blake Fontenay has written the bible of the Barbecue Belt.”
—John Pritchard, author of Junior Ray, Yazoo Blues, and the forthcoming Sailing to Alluvium
“This book has it all—sex, political intrigue, and barbecue. What more do you need, other than a napkin? Blake Fontenay is the Tolstoy of pork products.”
—William McKeen, author of Mile Marker Zero, Outlaw Journalist, and Highway 61
“No one knows local government better than Blake Fontenay. This is a great read. Unfortunately, the corruption and conflicts many of these characters show are prevalent in my hometown and all of our hometowns.”
—John Vergos, owner of Rendezvous restaurant