Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a women’s fiction novel with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.
This month I read The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Liz and Lisa’s book was recommended to me by Dee DeTasrio after she read and blurbed Neverending Beginnings for me this spring. She recommended it because it features elements of magical realism, just like my debut novel.
Magical what? You ask. Magical realism, is just a fancy way to describe a story set in the real world with some tiny little twist that couldn’t actually happen in life as we know it. In Liz and Lisa’s book, the featured element of magical realism is that the main character, Kate, can alter the things happening in her life by changing her Facebook status.
This is especially useful since the book opens with her fiancé canceling their wedding at the rehearsal dinner. Make that their destination wedding– in Hawaii. Oh, and he’s canceling the wedding because he’s in love with her co-worker. Not a particularly bad time to be given the chance to write life altering status updates. Kate decides to use her power to go back in time and keep her wedding on track. Which of course goes nothing at all as planned.
The Status of All Things is full of laugh-out-loud moments right alongside powerful revelations about fate and truth and destiny and the inescapable messiness of life. I’ve been thinking a lot about how cleaned up our lives look on social media and how far from the truth that often is. The way Liz and Lisa address this in their novel is probably my favorite part.
That element of messiness and the idea that perhaps sometimes we need to embrace it to fully live life, informed my beer pairing. I think the perfect beer to sip while devouring The Status of All Things is Brouwerij Gaverhopke’s Bittersweet Symphony. It’s a Belgian Double IPA that starts with a mouthful of bitter, bitter hops and ends with a lovely floral finish. Further proof that in life sometimes the best things are bitter before they are sweet.
Cheers and happy reading!
Aside: If you can drink that beer without singing the words “cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life,” in your head, you probably weren’t in college in the late 90s. For those of you that were: