Second Line

Poppy Z. Brite  - published October 2009

October 27, 2009 · 9781931520607 · trade paper/ebook

Selected for the inaugural ALA Over the Rainbow book list.
Read an interview with Poppy Brite in Gambit magazine.

Second Line: Two Short Novels of Love and Cooking in New Orleans starring lovable chefs Rickey and G-man from the incomparable Poppy Z. Brite. Includes: The Value of X and D*U*C*K and a new afterword by the author.

These two short novels bookend Poppy Z. Brite’s cheerfully chaotic series starring two chefs in New Orleans. The Value of X introduces G-man and Rickey, who grew up in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and who are slowly realizing there are only two important things in life: cooking and each other. Rickey’s parents aren’t quite so taken with the boy’s plans and get him an impossible-to-resist place at the Culinary Institute of America.

“Seeing love and passion bloom in the hearts of what seem like the most unlikely of subjects is, to me, quite a remarkable feat.  Simply put, Second Line was an excellent read that deepened my understanding of Rickey & G-Man’s relationship and left me hungry for more from this dynamic couple.  I dare you to give Second Line a try and see if you don’t become a Brite fan like me!”

“If I had to sum up Second Line in a few words, I would say Kitchen Confidential meets A Separate Peace. Gary and Rickey, young foodies from the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, are separated by their fearful parents after they transition from best friends to lovers. They earn their kitchen chops during their time apart. Their love story is believably tender and yet unsentimentally told. Brite has beautifully captured the voices of very young men confronting fear and love. The charm of the guys together contrasts amusingly with the gritty bitchiness of busy men in the fast-paced kitchen of a luxury joint. They have knives, and they will pluck ducks.”
—Néna Rawdah, St. Johns Booksellers, Portland, OR on NW Booklovers

“Fun foodie fiction, and readers will scarf it down.”
Publishers Weekly

“Poppy Z. Brite lives in New Orleans, which is perhaps the best setting in the world for two novels about the chaotic world of the restaurant kitchen. The first, “The Value of X,” introduces Rickey and G-man, two chefs who love food and each other. Against the backdrop of some fabulous meals, the two must navigate the end of childhood, questions of sexuality, the challenges of family and separation, and their divergent ambitions. In “D*U*C*K,” the two have become owners and co-chefs of Liquor, one of the Big Easy’s most popular restaurants.”
The Daily Hampshire Gazette

The Value of X should be particularly noteworthy for teens, as it is the coming out and coming-of-age stories of two of Brite’s long time characters, future chefs (and restaurant owners) Rickey and G-Man….. Brite’s books and stories about New Orleans are some of my all time favorite comfort reading and fans of southern writing and food should not let this collection pass them by. Great stuff, for sure.”
Guys Lit Wire

Read an excerpt from The Value of X.

In D*U*C*K, Rickey and G-man’s restaurant, Liquor, is doing well but there are the usual complications of running a kitchen: egos get bruised, people get fired . . . and then Rickey is jumped in an alley by one of their ex-waiters.

On the mend, Rickey takes a side job to cater the annual Ducks Unlimited banquet, where every course must, of course, include the ducks the hunters have bagged. Rickey’s crew are ready to meet the challenge, but Rickey’s not sure he can do it all and deal with the guest of honor—his childhood hero, former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert.

Originally published in limited hardcover editions by Subterranean Press, these two novels are full of the pure joy of love, hard work, and great food and are a tremendous extension (or introduction) to Brite’s series.

Poppy Z. Brite’s fiction set in the New Orleans restaurant world includes Prime, Liquor, and Soul Kitchen. She has also published five other novels and three short story collections. She lives with her husband Chris, a chef, in New Orleans.

High praise for Poppy Z. Brite’s previous books:

“A high-end restaurant is—for any competent novelist—a gift that keeps on giving. The heat, the bickerings and intrigue, the pursuit of perfection, the dodgy money keeping it all afloat: the setting spawns plots . . . Can the [Liquor] franchise sustain itself? The answer is yes.”
New York Times

“Rickey and G-man’s venture makes for a funny, surprisingly suspenseful story informed by Brite’s sure, sympathetic eye and her in-depth understanding of the arcane subculture she describes.”
The Washington Post