Soufflés are like life, you either rise or you fall.
The only trait John Diver believes he brings to the table is his ability to set it—that is, to create a space where people can be together, be thoughtful, and be present. And as chef and co-owner of De Terre, a vegetarian restaurant near the local liberal arts college, John pours himself into his work to avoid the anxiety and trepidation of modern life, as well as his own self-destructive tendencies.
When not prepping cassoulets or dicing onions, John lives a solitary life, surrounded by books. Yet when a beautiful, intelligent woman joins the literary guild that meets regularly at De Terre, John questions his social contract of keeping everyone else at arm’s length.
Amid sensual descriptions of cooking and burgeoning romance, Rites of Passage delves into the contemporary American experience through the issues plaguing the characters of this small Northeastern town. This novel serves up important philosophical concepts, leaving room for readers to question what is and is not said, and suggesting love and hope as a respite to the horror of the everyday.
Darryl Lauster is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Texas, an award-winning artist and sculptor, and published writer. He won a Joan Mitchell Award in 2010. His visual work can be found in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Lauster’s written work can be found in The Conversation, Gulf Coast Magazine, and Artlies Magazine.
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