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Currently living in Brooklyn, Stewart Lee Allen has also called California, Kathmandu, Sydney, San Cristobel, Calcutta and San Francisco home. When not lounging about a cafe in a far-flung corner of the globe, he has worked as a grape-picker, theatrical director, bathroom attendant, grave-digger, punk musician, smuggler and, of course, a writer. He is the author of the award-winning fiction collection The Art of Rape as well as his acclaimed history of coffee, The Devil's Cup.
* Allen's range of anecdotes is so varied and offbeat that is makes for a fascinating book. -- Jane Jakeman Times Literary Supplement * His book is a finger-buffet of travellers' and fishermen's tales associated with food and food taboos, loosely chapter-bound by the Seven Deadly Sins... If we are, as the 18th Century food writer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin first suggested, what we eat, then Allen is a strange and adventuresome man. The Times * Food factoids, whimsy, mad opinion, history and hearsay tumble across the pages of In The Devil's Garden... Here, Allen's anecdote-packed, gonzo writing style swashbuckles between the badly behaved European aristocrats who like to take a cup of jasmine-scented chocolate while watching infidels being burned alive to the "harlot-princess-slut divine, dominatrix bitch" Madame du Barry, who seduced Louis XV with a mountain of luxury. -- Jen Moir Daily Telegraph * Brilliant Independent