Category: New Releases and Book Promotions
COVER THE BUTTER - Launch of Paperback
Set in England, Wales, Ireland and France. "Cover the Butter is filled with a layer of psychological questions and issues that keep the reader engaged. Kabak gives the reader plenty of evidence as to how religious programming, sexual repression, childhood guilt and shame and the uphill battle to gain approval from parents condition adult life-choices.”
Cover the Butter is Book Sense Bestseller, won an Audiofile Magazine award and was nominated for a Quills Award.
I'm thrilled to announce the launch of the paperback edition!
May 1st 2006 NAL/Penguin Putnam Group.
Synopsis and Reviews
"Carrie Kabak uses her former homeland in the United Kingdom as the backdrop for a journey of over four decades in the life of her protagonist, Kate Cadogan. Kate is tethered to pleasing her critical and competitive mother - even if it means marrying someone who she’s not crazy about but whose family represents money, social standing and a stay-at-home life that her mother could never achieve. This is a character-driven story of relationships - between parents and children, husband and wife, mother and son, children and grandparents, and the staying power of early friendships.
It’s also the story of a woman who is slow to find and value her sense of self, instead believing that the meaning of her existence lies in pleasing all those around her. Kate Cadogan is representative of many women who become overly attached to their parents, unable to break out of the provincial place and time they grow up in and forge their own way in the world.
Kate marries for convenience, compromising her own skills and interests. Her goal becomes one of continually working to please her husband, parents, in-laws and son. She takes solace and some satisfaction in her homemaking skills, which go all but unappreciated by an immature and self-absorbed husband, who is more interested in playing sports with his friends than in intimacy with his wife. His immaturity extends to the bedroom, where, for the length of the marriage, he forces Kate to tolerate a degrading sexual ritual that she passively accepts rather than confronts.
One of the ways this evidence is presented is through a rather unique technique in the way we hear the characters thoughts. Kabak offers quotes without quotation marks, which acts not only as a device that moves the story along but gets us closer to understanding the motivation of the characters. Some might call this technique part of establishing the writer’s “voice.” Once you get used to it, you look forward to hearing this inner dialogue again. This technique will be repeated in relating three points of view in Kabak’s follow up novel, Tarts and Sinners.
The most prominent dynamic between characters is the over-controlling nature of Kate’s mother Biddy and Kate’s attempts not to lose her self in shame as the object of Biddy’s criticisms. Some will label Biddy “narcissistic.” But she is too often able to show love and support to have this label be entirely accurate. She is, more precisely, a bitter, resentful, and unhappy woman who settled for less than what she wanted - whose husband was just a simple man who could never earn enough for Biddy not to have to work herself to the bone. Kate is given alternating doses of approval and rejection, such that the inconsistency never allows her to establish a sense of security and self-support.
Although receiving less attention in the story, the more significant dynamic is, I believe, between Kate and her father, who passively accepts the ongoing berating and browbeating he too receives from Biddy. He is not threatened by Kate’s choice of a marriage partner because he knows she will never be as attached to her husband as she is to him. And Kate adopts the same passive stance in dealing with her mother as her father models for her. It is, unfortunately, a model often found in family dynamics.
Kabak could not have written this book in her thirties. This is a story that comes from a woman who has matured—both in age and in experience. It will appeal to those looking for more than just action and adventure in their fiction - those who want to chew on and digest what they are reading, not just swallow it whole. The paperback edition of Cover the Butter will be published in May of this year. It is worthy of your attention—as is Kabak’s laudable effort at penetrating the surface. STEVEN HENDLIN, Ph.D.
Intense, frustrating, outrageous, hilarious, heartwarming.
Decades are encapsulated in a few swift strokes.
Written with a depth and warmth reminiscent of Maeve Binchy.
Cover the Butter’s blend of honest pain, humor and stellar writing kept me riveted.
An extraordinary novel, it sings with life. I felt myself dissolve into it. Poignant, sensitive, funny and original.
Cover the Butter is a warm, funny and poignant novel which charts the life of Kate Cadogan, a "lost" housewife trying to make sense of her past and present. Kate's story spans the 1960s to the 1990s, covering the turmoil, both good and bad, of her transition from inexperienced teenage girl to worldly wise forty-something mother.
Central to the story's emotional impact is the relationship between Kate and her Irish mother, Biddy, whose moods swing in unpredictable and hurtful ways - one minute tender and loving, the next heartbreakingly cruel. Coupled with a weak-willed father, who succumbs to his wife's domineering ways, the Cadogan family is a complex mesh of pain and devotion, humor and heartbreak, unfulfilled expectations and adoration.
It's this very complication that ties Kate in knots: she never seems to be able to break free of her parents restrictive and confidence-sapping chains. And when she marries her self-centered, emotionally distant and just a little bit pompous husband, Rodney, the escape she once dreamed of is anything but.
Fortunately she has strong friendships, rooted in a shared childhood, and two doting Welsh grandparents to whom she can turn. But even so, there are some secrets that she keeps to herself, the pain of which, to this reader at least, seemed so real I could feel the aching grief resonate off the page.
It is Kabak's ability to capture the entanglement of human relationships in such a very real way that makes Cover the Butter such a powerful read. What I loved so much about this book was the immediacy of the writing, which seems effortless and seamless. The prose is stripped back and unadorned, but this is not to the detriment of atmosphere or emotion. If anything it adds to it. Kabak has such an eye for detail that she can convey the very essence of a scene or an emotion without wasting a word.
In many ways, Cover the Butter reads like the book that Maeve Binchy and Joanne Harris might have collaborated on: friendships, family,romance, food and travel all rolled into one. I loved it, and felt genuinely sad when the story came to an end. I had wanted it to go on forever.
Submitted by Carrie Kabak, posted on Thursday April 27, @10:50PM