Sometimes my general pop cultural cluelessness serves me well as a reader. I was working my way through a notebook of manuscript excerpts in preparation for sales conference last year when I ran across a couple of chapters from this book. No cover art, no author picture, no bio…just words on the page. And the read was fascinating.
But it was more than the story itself; the writing in this memoir was really lovely—sensual, introspective, carefully observed. So I was off to Google…Who was this Padma Lakshmi?
The answer, of course, is that she is hugely well-known: the host of the Emmy Award-winning, top-rated Bravo series Top Chef, the author of two cookbooks, and a supermodel. To that already impressive resume, she will soon likely add “best-selling memoirist.”
This is all by way of saying, don’t expect the typical celebrity memoir. It’s published by Ecco, our imprint which specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction. (Think memoirists like Patti Smith and Anthony Bourdain as well as fiction like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and The Son.) While this memoir certainly includes a behind-the-curtain look at a very glamorous life—marriage to Salman Rushdie, life in front of TV and movie cameras—it is also about a life of dislocation lived across several cultures and continents. It is, the editorial team promises, “A memoir rich with sensual prose and punctuated with evocative recipes, it is alive with the scents, tastes, and textures of a life that spans complex geographies both internal and external.”
As you might imagine, the review and publicity line-up is great. It starts with a People first serial and a feature interview, followed by coverage in Glamour, Elle and O, The Oprah Magazine. Lakshmi will also be on NBC’s Today show, Ellen, The View and Dr. Oz.
Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir (9780062202611) by Padma Lakshmi. $26.99 hardcover. 3/8/2016 on sale.