The last place you’d expect to find a review of the O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 is in what purports to be a review of the 2008 collection – just out. But the Manila Standard Today is clearly a paper that ploughs its own furrow, and all the better for it. Particularly in the case of this review, which doesn’t only concentrate on last year’s anthology rather than the new one but focuses on two stories in it, one of which is The Scent of Cinnamon. You’re probably as tired as I am of seeing praise heaped on this story (don’t worry, I’m joking), so you needn’t go and read it. I’ll just quote a phrase – a love story of heart-rending proportions – as a possible amuse-gueule.

PS. I thought I’d check the spelling of ‘gueule’ – how could I fail to after the spiky post below – and I found this fascinatingly complete (as in, containing strictly irrelevant but nonetheless fascinating information) definition, on Everything2:

In the most literal sense, amuse gueule translates from the French as an amusement for the mouth – but not a mouth in the human sense – amuse bouche would be used in that case (which indeed it sometimes is). It seems that gueule means a non-human mouth, either that of an animal or more intriguingly, a gun. When used in reference to humans, gueule is a slang term, roughly translating as gob. It gives you an idea of the playfulness of the dish.

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