A well-respected chef in New York City has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream, to open a restaurant that is devoted entirely to "eggy" creations in the smart Wall Street area of the City. Working with an inspired architect, John erects his restaurant in the shape of a Fabergé egg, modeled after those remarkable masterpieces that were offered each year by the Czar to his beloved wife in the years leading up to the Russian Revolution. Fabergé Restaurant becomes 'the' destination for the wealthiest of NYC clients, but it's also the place where a plan is Hatched by three former college roommates to counterfeit billions of dollars and shake the United States economy to its very yolk. A rollicking novel filled with intrigue, passion and voluptuous egg recipes, Hatched is a sumptuous treat.
Meet Robert Barsky, who grew up in a Jewish family in Canada and teaches now in the French and Italian departments at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Also holding a university appointment in Jewish studies, Barsky was born and raised in Montréal, attended Brandeis University in the Boston area, and later did graduate work at McGill University back in Canada.
Trading in his academic cap temporarily to wear a novelist's hat, Barsky now has written a financial thriller novel titled "Hatched" which is at the printing press now as I write.
In a recent interview with San Diego Jewish World, the professor told me some of the backstory of his debut novel and how he came to write it.
"A well-respected chef in New York City has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream, which is to open a restaurant that is devoted entirely to 'eggy creations' in the Wall Street area of Manhattan," he said by email. "Working with an architect, the chef erects a restaurant in the shape of a Fabergé egg that is inspired by those remarkable masterpieces that were offered each year by the Russian Czar to his beloved wife, leading up to the Russian Revolution."
As Barsky's fictional story goes, the Fabergé Restaurant becomes 'the' destination for the wealthiest of New York clients, but it's also the place where three former college roommates hatch a plan to counterfeit billions of dollars, "and shake the American economy to its very yolk," as Barsky put it.
You can see he has a punning sense of humor.
"It's my first novel, and it's filled with some great plot twists and voluptuous egg recipes," he said, adding: "The book is a sumptuous treat."
Barsky knows a thing or two about how restaurants operate from his own training as a chef, and "Hatched" combines his personal knowledge of kitchen shenanigans, along with an academic understanding of revolutionary ambitions, honed through decades of research into American communists, anarchists and socialists.
"My novel is primarily an adventure that takes place inside of a masterpiece, the Fabergé Egg, until, when the plan is finally 'hatched,' the repercussions are taken into marginalized communities that benefit from the newly-printed money, and, finally, into the offices of the U.S. Treasury," he said. "I have researched all elements of the story, but also let the story tell itself, with a cast of very memorable characters who are fun to be around."
Barsky told me that the novel was seven years in the making and "fertilized" by visits to some posh restaurants he dined in throughout North America and Europe. Add in his research into recent financial crises and visits to some museums housing the fabulous creations of Fabergé, and here's a novel with punch.
As an academic, Barsky has published seven non-fiction books, including a trilogy of works about Noam Chomsky's cultural and political milieus. And yes, he trained as a chef in his undergraduate college years.
"As an avid collector of memorabilia relating to the Fabergé collection, I'm a resolute lover of eggy cuisine," he told this reporter.
As readers of modern literary fiction know, there is a growing genre of hybrid works that feature novelistic intrigue and feasting. They range from novels containing intimate scenes devoted to the passion of eating yummy food, to mysteries set in restaurants, in which the recipe can be part of the intrigue, according to Barsky.
So if you liked Joanne Fluke's "Cream Puff Murder" or Diane Mott Davidson's "Bread Alone" -- and popular movies such as 'Like Water for Chocolate' or My Dinner with Andre, Barsky's debut thriller just might be your cup of tea.
-- San Diego Jewish Review, sdjewishworld.com/2015/10/20/egg-citing-plot-twists-in-hatched/
The Imperial eggs enjoyed great fame, and Fabergé was commissioned to make similar eggs for a few private clients, including the Duchess of Marlborough, the Rothschild family and the Yusupovs. Fabergé also made a series of seven eggs for the industrialist Alexander Kelch. There is an amazing book "Hatched" written by Robert Barsky, who is a Professor of both literature and Law at Vanderbilt University, and a long-time researcher in the area of refugee studies, migration and, most recently, undocumented immigrants. Herein you can find profound information about these eggs and its history - Orkhan Khalilov, Admiral News.
If you liked Joanne Fluke's "Cream Puff Murder" or Diane Mott Davidson's "Bread Alone" - and popular movies such as 'Like Water for Chocolate' or My Dinner with Andre, Barsky's debut thriller just might be your cup of tea. -- Danny Bloom