In her latest, singer, writer, and performer Lunch (The Need to Feed: Recipes for Developing a Healthy Obsession With Deeply Satisfying Foods, 2012, etc.) offers her unique blend of raw humor and uncompromising observations.
Buoyed by indignant anger and outrage, these cultural critiques function best when viewed as performance pieces that vary between scathing indictments and rambling rants. Maintaining a deliberate defiance in tone and style, the author covers broad topics, from wildly intimate experiences to coarse opinions and razor-sharp social insights. As usual, Lunch holds nothing back, providing rebellious, raunchy personal stories, scorching perspectives on the notion of mandatory motherhood, a purging glimpse at the nightmare of insomnia, and other themes. Amid these punchy personal revelations, the author layers honed essays with a broader scope. The topics include a reflective interview with Hubert Selby Jr., an in-depth profile of poet Herbert Huncke (“short shift hustler, petty thief, con artist, convicted felon, parasitic hustler, lifelong junkie…whose collected memoirs, beautifully rendered, are infused with heartbreaking detours, detailing life lived to the extreme”), a gritty history of No Wave in New York, and a blistering criticism of recent environmental degradation, pollution, and political abuses of power for economic gains. In the ambitious “Slobathon,” Lunch tackles fashion trends and the commodification of style from James Dean to the death of glam and beyond. Pulling attention to corporate greed and consumer accountability, this explosive essay seethes with the kind of urgency that reflects Lunch at her strongest. Together, these reactions to consumerism, global economic exploitation, hypocrisy, militarism, environmental destruction, and other social failures of modern American society are fervent, bordering on virulent. Consistent with her other work, the author’s voice may be faulted as uneven but never tamed; it’s not a book for the easily offended or faint of heart.
Lunch fans will enjoy her unleashed musings and the healthy rage that abound in these fierce essays.