In Lambda Award finalist Chana Porter’s highly anticipated new novel, an aspiring chef, a cyberthief, and a kitchen maid each break free of a society that wants to constrain them.
In the quaint religious town of Seagate, abstaining from food brings one closer to God.
But Beatrice Bolano is hungry. She craves the forbidden: butter, flambé, marzipan. As Seagate takes increasingly extreme measures to regulate every calorie its citizens consume, Beatrice must make a choice: give up her secret passion for cooking or leave the only community she has known.
Elsewhere, Reiko Rimando has left her modest roots for a college tech scholarship in the big city. A flawless student, she is set up for success...until her school pulls her funding, leaving her to face either a mountain of debt or a humiliating return home. But Reiko is done being at the mercy of the system. She forges a third path—outside of the law.
With the guidance of a mysterious cookbook written by a kitchen maid centuries ago, Beatrice and Reiko each grasp for a life of freedom—something more easily imagined than achieved in a world dominated by catastrophic corporate greed.
A startling fable of the entwined perils of capitalism, body politics, and the stigmas women face for appetites of every kind, Chana Porter’s profound new novel explores the reclamation of pleasure as a revolutionary act.
Chana Porter is a playwright, teacher, MacDowell fellow, and cofounder of The Octavia Project, a STEM and writing program for girls, trans, and nonbinary youth that uses speculative fiction to envision greater possibilities for our world. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and is also the author of The Seep, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.
"The Thick and the Lean flips our known world inside out and, in doing so, exposes familiar seams of subjugation—from purity culture to capitalist exploitation. Chana Porter is a brilliant engineer of speculative societies and vivid far-flung realms, but she is also an author who reminds us what matters most in our real lives: the urgency of living our highest truth. This novel is a feast of ideas I didn’t want to end."—Allegra Hyde, author of Eleutheria
"Decadent and richly imagined, The Thick and the Lean topples expectations and skillfully re-maps vice and virtue, indulgence and shame as we know them. This book is wildly new and deliciously satisfying, and Porter is one of our moment's most original seers."—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Something New Under the Sun