When an exhausted woman gives birth to 11 babies, the media descend on Three Chimneys, Virginia. To deflect them and promote local farming, a cheesemaker prepares a special delivery for the President. An exuberant novel that deftly satirises small-town America and politics.
Shortlisted for Orange Prize 2005.
US reviews for The Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman 'An engaging, multidimensional tale ... [Sheri Holman is] a gifted writer' Anita Shreve, Atlantic Monthly 'Lovely and disarming ...the storyline is droll but the book is also tough, sad and surprisingly sweet' New York Times Book Review 'Like the 1,200-pound cheese of the title, Sheri Holman's novel is a big, ambitious enterprise. Unlike many such enterprises - though again like the cheese - it possesses, page by page, or bite by bite if you prefer, an intense, refined and lingering flavour ... comic and absolutely gripping' New York Times 'Profoundly moving ... Holman has fashioned a tale that is poignant and powerful and, like an award-winning cheese, surprisingly complex' Washington Post 'Holman's novel is brilliant, the characters deeply rendered, the philosophic underpinning astute, the touch sure ...Holman is one of those novelists whose world you trust completely. She's as adept as Barbara Kingsolver at tracing the political and intellectual life of small rural communities. In fact, some of Holman's social satire has Kingsolver's humour' Seattle Times 'Flawlessly plotted ... so satisfying' Atlanta Journal 'Holman is a skilfully detailed writer whose prose blends the factual with the personal in a manner as straightforward as it is compelling ... Holman's characters are deftly drawn, flawed and earnest, corruptible and alight with brave dreams' The Globe and Mail 'Inventive, offbeat ... an exuberantly eccentric tale of small-town life ... a delicately nuanced, vivid creation making this work one that dazzles with its combination of history, religion, political satire and tragedy' Publishers Weekly 'This big but nimble novel is absolutely compelling in its swift satire, yet readers will also respond to its deep sympathies for "well-foibled" individuals ... Human nature exposed at its rawest - and most entertaining' Booklist 'Fantastic ... this is a Great American Novel par excellence ... stunning' Newsday 'This panoramic social novel with a needle-sharp point of view sends up both small-town America and politics. There's mordant social commentary, discussion of Jeffersonian civic ideals and bittersweet romance, plus more than you needed to know about cow midwifery' People 'The denouement of Holman's sharp American satire could easily be a scene out of a Robert Altman movie ... Holman's intricately crafted look at family, religion and class in the rural South seamlessly blends the quotidian and the surreal' Time Out New York 'Holman virtuosically entangles two arresting plotlines: the ripple effect of the birth of (count 'em) eleven babies to an exhausted Virginia woman and the creation and transportation to Washington of the eponymous protein source ... enthralling ... part John Hassler, part Robert Altman film - and all-round terrific' Kirkus 'Believability is one of the things that makes this such a wonderful book. Sheri Holman performs a nearly faultless balancing act between reality and satire' Chicago Sun-Times 'Wonderful ... Holman made her debut with the grisly, remarkable The Dress Lodger. She is even more remarkable here. Her story is deep and compelling, populated by characters who are moving and thought-provoking, and her images are precise and surprising' Philadelphia Inquirer 'After reading only a few pages I was hooked ...an engaging work of fiction that explores big ideas with an off-kilter freshness and a genuine knowledge of human experience ... a marvellous, entertaining novel' BookPage
Sheri Holman grew up in rural Virginia and now lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of A STOLEN TONGUE and THE DRESS LODGER. THE MAMMOTH CHEESE is her third novel.