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Geoff Nicholson: The Food Chain

Young Virgil Marcel is crawling around his father’s fast food restaurant in California when he accidentally knocks the food from the counter onto his head. Instead of bewailing this event, he starts to eat a chicken leg, while covered in coleslaw. His English mother takes some photos, his father makes a sculpture based on the photo and the Golden Boy fast food chain is born. The novel starts with the now grown up Virgil making only his second trip to London at the invitation of the Everlasting Club. The Everlasting Club has one aim – excess, mainly, though as Virgil finds out, not exclusively, in eating. The club has been going for 350 years, devoted to gastronomic and other orgies. Virgil, spoilt and unpleasant, is dragged into the Everlasting Club, a willing victim. Nicholson does not stop at the Everlasting Club, with its gastronomic and erotic excesses, but paints a witty but grizzly picture of eating gone awry. Indeed, many readers have found his portrait excessive, which suggests that he is doing something right. This is a brilliantly witty attack on excess which no-one who eats should miss.

Publishing history

First published 1992 by Hodder and Stoughton