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Publisher's Summary

Held captive by her employers--and by her own demons--on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance, and survival.

Darlene, once an exemplary wife and a loving mother to her young son, Eddie, finds herself devastated by the unforeseen death of her husband. Unable to cope with her grief, she turns to drugs and quickly forms an addiction. One day she disappears without a trace.

Unbeknownst to 11-year-old Eddie, now left behind and in a panic-stricken search for her, Darlene has been lured away with false promises of a good job and a rosy life. A shady company named Delicious Foods shuttles her to a remote farm, where she is held captive, performing hard labor in the fields to pay off the supposed debt for her food, lodging, and the constant stream of drugs the farm provides to her and the other unfortunates imprisoned there.

In Delicious Foods James Hannaham tells the gripping story of three unforgettable characters: a mother, her son, and the drug that threatens to destroy them. Through Darlene's haunted struggle to reunite with Eddie, through the efforts of both to triumph over those who would enslave them, and through the irreverent and mischievous voice of the drug that narrates Darlene's travails, Hannaham's daring and shape-shifting prose infuses this harrowing experience with grace and humor.

The desperate circumstances that test the unshakeable bond between this mother and son unfold into myth, and Hannaham's treatment of their ordeal spills over with compassion. Along the way we experience a tale at once contemporary and historical that wrestles with timeless questions of love and freedom, forgiveness and redemption, tenacity and the will to survive.

©2015 James Hannaham (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"James Hannaham's new novel is a tour de force. Gripping, haunting, and deeply moving, it beguiles the reader with the urgent immediacy of its characters' lives, while also reverberating with universal themes of freedom and enslavement, love and survival." (Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winner for A Visit From the Goon Squad)
"Author James Hannaham--who is clearly comfortable behind the mic--skillfully narrates a story of human exploitation, addiction, and grief." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Melissa
  • Aurora, CO United States
  • 10-21-15

Amazing! I love these characters and their story.

I love this book so much. I was initially not engaged with the narrator, it's often a mistake when the author narrates their own work; but, as the story progressed I fell in love with these characters and the author's portrayal became more natural and I understood what he was going for. Tuck and Sirius are so complex and I rooted for both of them. Much of the story is very hard and graphic, yet it didn't feel gratuitous or unrealistic for the situations.
I love this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Authors Should not Narrate

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

OK, the story is great and I probably should have read Delicious Foods and not listened to it. Why? As I said in the headline, authors should not narrate their books... they are writers, not performers. The author, who does indeed narrate the book, has the annoying habit of snorting out some words and phrases. It's subtle, but there nonetheless. Kind of like that irksome drip that catches your attention, or that irritating sound coming from under the dashboard... once it reaches your consciousness , you can't seem to ignore it. <br/><br/>The story itself is great and Hannaham is a gifted writer and so I anxiously await his next piece of work. Whom narrates will determine if I listen or read!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Weird, Wacky, Wonderful, and Heartbreaking

Delicious Foods opens with a young man driving a car with his hands chopped off, and just gets better from there.

After his father is murdered by racist bigots, Eddie's mother Darlene spirals into depression and a crack cocaine addiction. One night she's tricked into signing a contract to work on a Louisiana farm where she's held captive as essentially a modern-day slave. Eddie, her eleven year old son, abandoned in Texas, is left to fend for himself and to try to find out what happened to her.

This book is weird, wacky, wonderful, heartbreaking, sad, and an all-around pleasure (except when it's devastating). It's told from the perspective of multiple narrators, one of whom is crack cocaine. It's experimental, but also somehow completely accessible, funny, and warm.

I'm so glad a reading buddy put Delicious Foods on my radar, because I had heard literally nothing about it, and it ended up being my favorite book published in 2015. 5 MILLION STARS!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing Story

a bit off the beaten path but an amazing story worth the listen. would definitely recommend. hopefully this book will bring heightened awareness to issues that happen all over the world even here in the United States.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best book I've listened to.

Just amazing. It works well as a story of these characters, but can easily also function as a diagnosis of the failure of the American dream, and the many places it (and people) can break down. Delicious Foods comes into the discussion with Infinite Jest about the title of greatest American novel of the last 25 years.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tedious

I am glad I read Delicious Foods. I really cared about the characters, though the story became somewhat bogged down and tedious. I enjoyed that the drug was a major character, especially with a sense of humor. James Hannaham could have told the story in fewer words.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Unapologetic , gritty, and real.

Mr. Hannaham is a true writer, a phenomenal storyteller. I loved the descriptions of the characters. They were so well developed without being cumbersome. The story, although not for the faint at heart, is beyond sad, heart wrenching, and beautiful. Lives wasted and found. I loved it.

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Slavery goes underground.

I though the overall story to be a bit raw in content, and I guess I expected more of a happier ending to balance out
my feelings.

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Respected but maybe not liked

A book where cocaine was one of the narrators. Confusing and disjointed, but realistic look at the life they led.