Ken Wells / journalist / novelist / storyteller
Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou
A tasty look at the cultural and social history of gumbo told through Wells' pilgrimage to Louisiana's Gumbo belt and the memories of his colorful, gumbo-filled bayou childhood.
Ask any self-respecting Louisianan who makes the best gumbo and the answer is universal: “Momma.” The product of an unprecedented melting pot of culinary influences, these mommas are an eclectic group, for gumbo reflects the diversity of the people who cooked it up: French aristocrats, West Africans in bondage, Cajun refugees, German settlers, Native Americans—all had a hand in the pot. What is it about gumbo that continues to delight and nourish so many? And what explains its spread around the world? (continued)
A great early review from Kirkus! Click here.
Coming Feb. 26, 2019 from Ken Wells & W.W. Norton...
"An expert first novel..."--The New York Times
"Salty and good..."--The New York Times
"A Category 5 thriller..."--The Miami Herald
An expert "comic crime novel."--The Washington Post
"A cracking good animal story..."--The Center for Children's Books
"A terrific collection..."--Publishers Weekly
"Artful storytelling..."--Book List
"A humorous, lively tour..."--Publishers Weekly
"Highly recommended..."--Warren Buffett,
The Oracle of Omaha
"Vivid prose...heartbreaking reporting..."--Publishers Weekly
"A terrific read..."--Publishers Weekly
Novels, narrative non-fiction and anthologies
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*News you can use: Ken's story on literally green buildings in the June 26 Wall Street Journal.
Check out Ken's April 2017 US News & World Report essay on why Louisiana's bottom-ranking in the magazine's metrics beauty pageant just doesn't add up.
*The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, is available in an updated paperback edition from Yale University Press.
* Rascal, a Dog and His Boy is now a terrific audio book!
Advance praise for Gumbo Life...
"In this mouth-watering culinary memoir...is a vivid account of Wells' languid bayou childhood and the history and personalities who seasoned it. There could be no better guide to this unique American sub-culture than Bonnie’s boy from Bayou Black."--Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of March and People of the Book.
"Like a dense, flavorful gumbo filled with tastes of the region, this is a book to savor." –Jessica Harris, author of “High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America.”
“Ken Wells knows gumbo, and from whence it comes. And gumbo, and its sources, are profoundly tasty things to know.” — Roy Blount Jr. , author and humorist.