Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Veggie Books: Fantastic Mr Fox

Let's do some Veggie Books again. For those who are new to this, I have a theory that no novel can ever be truly great unless a fruit or vegetable is included within it. Just an idea. Start looking for veggies in your favourite books, and see if my theory holds up.

Here's my latest veggie book:

It turns out Fantastic Mr Fox is still fantastic. The Munchie has reached the age where she has begun to understand Roald Dahl's uniquely brutal sense of gleeful humour, and she has whizzed through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, and I have James and the Giant Peach lined up for her (which would also be a strong contender for a veggie book, obviously) but right now we are utterly enamoured of Fantastic Mr Fox. Not the film version, which is beautiful and funny, but not quite Dahl-ish enough somehow, and a bit too suave, in a very non-British way.

Here's a little bit:

Bean was a turkey-and-apple farmer. He kept thousands of turkeys in an orchard full of apple trees. He never ate any food at all. Instead, he drank gallons of strong cider which he made from the apples in his orchard. He was thin as a pencil and the cleverest of them all.

Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were none the less equally mean.


Dahl does such great grotesques. Mr Twit is my all-time favourite. I love a grotesque character, the fascinating kind, and apparently the Munchie is no different. She loves the idea of Boggis, Bunce and Bean, and of the Terrible Tractors and The Great Feast. Who can blame her? When I was little I loved it too.

12 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

Iris Murdoch's wonderful novel The Sea, The Sea is full of recipes, and of course, vegetables. One meal includes:

"...baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil."

Aliya Whiteley said...

One of my favourite novels, Frances!

Abi said...

Mr Twit was great - I especially loved the descriptions of all the food he kept in his beard.

There's quite a few mentions of vegetables in Pat Barker's 'Life Class' - most of these seem to be vegetable odours; rotting cabbage, frying onions etc.

These all help to bring the descriptions of pre-war London to life a bit!

Aliya Whiteley said...

I'll have to look that one up - sounds up my alley...

Frances Garrood said...

Beatrix Potter is a good source of literary veg. Peter Rabbit ransacking Mr. McGregor's garden, and the Flopsy Bunnies and their soporific lettuces, for a start.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Not so keen on Beatrix Potter, for some reason. A bit too rabbitty.

Tim Stretton said...

I had forgotten just how good Dahl was. Magnificently dark!

Neil George Ayres said...

I'm looking forward to revisiting Dahl's kids' stuff. Still a few years to wait for me though.

Incidentally I heard a radio play some months back of his creepy short story about the finger gambling. Got creeped out again. If you've not read it, recommended. I don't think there are vegetables though. But there is a Panama hat and a nice car.

Aliya Whiteley said...

I remember that one! 'Skin' always made me shudder, with the tattoo. Great stories.

Abi said...

'The Visitor' is probably my favourite Dahl story; no veg, but it does contain watermelon.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Good choice! *shudder*

Frances Garrood said...

Lamb to the Slaughter's mine, but I don't think the lamb came with any veg.