This remarkable account of oysters and oystering in the bays and gulfs of southern Brittany is a rare treat: it is a book about food that offers its readers a genuine literary experience.
Eleanor Clark (1919-1996) was a novelist who also wrote non-fiction; her Rome and a Villa (1952) became a major best seller, as well as an indispensable companion for visitors to that city. Married to the novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren, she was active in intellectual circles, and The Oysters of Locmariaquer, published in 1964, was a compelling exploration of the history and the lives of the people of this culturally remote region.
The book, which won a National Book Award and garnered substantial sales, has taken its place along with William Warner’s Distant Water and John Hersey’s Blues as classic accounts of the intersection of the natural world and the human domain. Oysters are among our most storied foods, and this absorbing book has been one of our steadiest sellers over the years. Part natural history and part narrative of a way of life that was on the brink of vanishing more than half a century ago, it ranks among our all-time favorites.