A new book came across my desk: The Man Who Ate the World.
Now, where have I heard a title like that?
Ah, here it is. In the row of books behind another row of books in the long, low timber cabinet in the lounge room. I really should get rid of some books. In fact, I really should get rid of some cabinets the books are in. Problem is, you can't throw out the books you've read because you like them and therefore you will always keep them; but paradoxically you cannot throw out the ones you haven't read, because you might like them when you do read them. It's a problem I don't know how to solve without the introduction of a 28-hour day.
I pulled out the book: The Man Who Ate Everything, published in 1998. Tracy gave it to me one Christmas.
But it's by a different author - Jeffrey Steingarten - so the title similarity had not indicated, as I had thought, a sequel, a prequel, one of a series or book two of a trilogy.
And yet there were other likenesses.
The subtitle of Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything contains the word 'pursuit'; the subtitle of Rayner's book contains 'search'.
Mere coincidence? Not when the titles are so similar.
Extracts from the usual glowing reviews on the books' respective covers include the following phrases:
On Steingarten's book: 'gastronomic writing of the highest order'.
On Rayner's: 'really gets the gastric juices flowing'.
On Steingarten's book: 'Wildly funny'.
On Rayner's: 'laugh-out-loud funny'.
On Steingarten's book: 'wittily knowledgeable'.
On Rayner's: 'huge wit and knowledge'.