A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites—and their physical spaces—that posits the question: If you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?

Lara Williams introduces us to Roberta, an almost-thirty woman stuck in a mindless job and reluctant to pursue her passion for food. But when Stevie enters her life, a desire for change is sparked within, and together they form the Supper Club—a safe space for women to gather and feast. They embrace their changing bodies and push the boundaries of the space they take up in the world. The women of the First Look Club, Jowana and Katya, took on this journey. Read their thoughts below.

The Women

Jowana saysThe members of the club all had traumatic experiences that hampered their ability to feel safe. Gorging collectively on food in abandoned places at dark provides them a tangible opportunity to feel part of a community once again.

Katya saysRoberta is a jumble of insecurities, and Williams’ immersive writing ensures that you feel all of it. Even when Roberta is difficult to like, it’s easy to relate to her anxiety and hesitation, her fear and self-loathing.

The Food

Jowana saysDifferent dishes are introduced during each club congregation but I found the random dishes scattered throughout the chapters far more fascinating. From sourdough to spaghetti puttanesca to the preparation of caramelized onions, the detailed descriptions serve a higher purpose of providing metaphors, subtler in this case.

Katya saysThe novel shines when Williams puts food center stage. Supper Club is peppered with recipes and beautifully written ruminations on making and devouring food. And while these passages are proof of Roberta’s culinary expertise, they’re also a window into the intimate, emotional connection she has with it.

The Verdict

Jowana saysThe debut novel of Lara Williams is an embarrassment of riches. Her mastery of the craft is superb. Her grasp of the characters is impeccable. Her understanding of the themes is nuanced. Supper Club is an indulgent manifesto of feminist rage.

Katya saysWilliams’ brilliant debut is many things: It’s atmospheric and visceral, cutting and beautiful. It can be lighthearted, then heartbreaking; at turns, warm and cruel. In one word, it’s powerful, and so compelling I couldn’t put it down.

Supper Club is available at Fully Booked branches and Fully Booked Online. Get your copy here.

Jowana has harnessed her powers working as a social media manager for almost a decade.
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Katya has had a torrid romance with fiction for over two decades. She works in advertising and has four poodles.
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[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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