It’s September 1999 and the world is on the cusp of a new millennium. In rural Maine, Gordon St. Onge, known as “The Prophet”, presides over his controversial Settlement, a place rumored to be a cult, where his many wives and children live off the grid and off the land. Out in greater America, Bruce Hummer, the aging CEO of multinational corporation Duotron Lindsey, lays off workers by the thousands. Meanwhile, the newest member of the Settlement, fifteen year old Brianna Vandermast, is fired up and ready for change. Disillusioned with the covert local militia, she and other Settlement teens form the True Maine Militia. Putting her visionary ideas into practice, Bree pens “The Recipe”, an incendiary revolutionary document that winds up in the hands of wealthy elites, including Bruce Hummer.
When a chance drinking session during an airport layover brings Bruce and Gordon together, Hummer—in a confounding moment— gives Gordon a mysterious brass key, one turn of which has the potential to make heads roll and spark the unrest that is stirring in Egypt, Maine. As word of “The Recipe” spreads, myriad factions of anti-corporate revolt from across the country arrive at The Settlement wanting to make Gordon their poster boy. Gordon soon finds himself at the center of an uprising, the effects of which ripple beyond Settlement life.
In The Recipe for Revolution Carolyn Chute portrays politics, class, love, and friendship with acuity and complexity, giving us a pulsating, relevant book for today’s America.
Praise for The Recipe for Revolution:
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
“The events of the novel take place circa Y2K, but Chute’s concerns seem very 2020: how reality is named, created, fragmented, trolled, distorted… the writing is often wicked gorgeous… It’s been her career long passion, this ongoing searing critique of profit’s ‘god-sized system’… In place of a traditional plot, Chute allows characters to slowly emerge, exert a kind of magnetic pull and then recede. It feels like the literary equivalent of a big choir with occasional soloist.”—New York Times Book Review
“Characters and relationships drive this novel with a fierce political vision that feels uniquely tailored for our times.” —Booklist
“Essential reading… [The] third volume in Chute’s blistering series about the Settlement, a radical, politically incorrect collective of the disorderly and disaffected in rural Maine.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves:
“Carolyn Chute is the James Joyce of the back country, a Proust of rural society, an original in every meaning of the word.”—New York Times Book Review
“Quirky, intensely original… an intellectual page-turner… Chute combines strident political commentary with humor, surrealism, and inventive language… multilayered and complex, deeply critical of society but fiercely devoted to humans.”—O Magazine
“Deeply felt, scorchingly funny.”—Vanity Fair
“A 700-page piece of wonderful, infuriating, narrative energy… This is the work of a writer at the peak of her craft.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“As always Chute’s voice is smart, funny, and fired up about righting the wrongs of the world… fiery, impassioned, and unlike anything else you will ever probably read.” —Boston Globe
“[Chute] writes like a wild animal—ferocious, playful—making mincemeat of contemporary mores. Plenty to gnaw on here.”—More
Bree spreads her ringless hand on the thick stapled document lying between three empty coffee mugs on the long leafed table. She says, “What is this?”
He is just now entering the room with two more mugs, these with maple milk in them, one for her, one for him. His eyes widen. “Oh that. Well, in this world there’s your Recipe. Then there’s their Recipe.”
Her voice has always a smoky edge. “Project Megiddo it says. It’s the FBI. But what are you doing with it?” She giggles.
He positions the two brimming mugs on the table. He glances at her face which is purposely hidden by squiggles and twists of shining young-girl-hair, perfectly orange hair, her face deformed by whatever it was that went wrong when she was the size of a thumb… or earlier… maybe when she was a mere idea… though who could imagine Bree, her honey-color eyes set apart like a funhouse mirror image and her mind that to him once seemed shy, nervous or something… but, no, he is beginning to understand that she is not nervous of anything. He bets that the coil of her brain is radiating far more redly than her hair.
He explains, “Everybody has a copy of that thing. It’s not top secret. It was issued to fire departments, cops, EMTs. Rex… you know… he’s with the volunteer fire crowd.”
“I figured. Cuz of the red light on the dash in his pickup,” she says in a warm way.
He grunts. “Richard York. He’s just like you. He loves to share. He’s probably churned out half a million copies of that report.”