Anna Tambour is a reluctant writer of author biographies: "Write something clever about yourself revolts me. The higher a writer's personality grows, the more it stunts the offspring." Her novel Crandolin was shortlisted for the 2013 World Fantasy Award and she lives in the Australian bush. Her newest collection is The Finest Ass in the Universe (Ticonderoga Press).

Crandolin by Anna Tambour

In a medieval cookbook in a special-collections library, near-future London, jaded food and drink authority Nick Kippax finds an alluring stain next to a recipe for the mythical crandolin. He tastes it, ravishing the page. Then he disappears.

The only novel ever committed that was inspired by postmodern physics AND Ottoman confectionery.


Anna Tambour is a writer living in Australia. After a long correspondence I had the good fortune to finally meet Anna on my first trip to Australia. We had a wonderful time together as she showed me the sights in Sydney. I was delighted to discover that she was originally from Florida so we had much to share. I feel a kinship with her, as if she were a long-lost cousin.

Her work has always been strangely beautiful and this novel is no exception. A medieval cookbook is the catalyst in this novel, enticing her main character, as well as us, as we tag along on these travels to discover the truth behind the recipe for crandolin. The adventures in this book will take you to Russia and all through Central Asia. Enjoy the ride! – Ann VanderMeer



  • "I don't think that you can really review an Anna Tambour book, you can merely sort of hang on for the ride and hope that your literary senses are still intact when you're done ... Yup, CRANDOLIN is essentially a cookery book. A cookery book of cosmic proportions ... CRANDOLIN is fabulation at its most exciting ... Anna Tambour is a rogue punk-prophetess whose writings not only stray from the beaten path; some of them are so far out there that you can hear the distant drums of strange story-tribes being awakened by her prose."

    – I. O'Reilly,┬áReview, British Fantasy Society
  • "Immerse yourself in the magical world of Anna Tambour's Crandolin, a delirious journey that takes the reader through Central Asia and Russia with some fascinating strangers and a donkey, a demanding musical instrument, and delicious hints of nougat and honey."

    – Ellen Datlow
  • "By turns lyrical and absurdist, whimsical and elegantly true, Crandolin is unlike any novel you will ever have read. Anna Tambour is brilliant, a true original."

    – Lucius Shepard
  • "At heart Crandolin is a rich confectionery, a tapestry woven out of dreams and nightmares, an Arabian Nights tale for the twenty first century with Tambour asScheherazade, lulling us with hermellifuous voice and artistry. I loved it, and didn't want it to end."

    – Peter Tennant, Review, Black Static
  • "A fairy tale Dostoevsky would have liked. It's like it was written by a demented chef."

    – David Kowalski
  • "Epicurean fantasy at its finest. Crandolin is an uncanny mating of passion and precision: that Anna Tambour is billed as 'author' and not 'magician' belies the virtuosity with which she coaxes a whirlwind of gluttonous carnality into her scintillatingly intricate narrative web."

    – Jay Rachel Edidin
  • "She will surely register Richter-powerful on the delighted synapses of all patrons of weird, funny fabulism."

    – Paul Di Filippo, Review, Locus
  • "To sum up, a lot of things could have gone wrong if this story had been planted in the mind of any other writer... This book does not have a single dull moment and there is no space for a cliché on any page... Next time I see someone complaining about the lack of ingenuity in fiction I am going to shove this book under their nose."

    – Dinesh Raghavendra, Review, Former People



The crandolin wakes

THE LUMINOUS STAIN ON PAGE 67 contained traces of quince, rose, grains of paradise, ambergris, pearl, cinnamon, and what could only be surmised. Kippax surmised, all right. Blood. The colour of the stain (livid pink) confirmed what he had read, though no test could. This cookbook was indeed, as the frontispiece said, For the Adwentoursomme.

It had once been common knowledge that drinking crandolin blood cursed the drinker to a long life of madness, and the recipes on the two pages driving Kippax mad were for Crammed Amphisbaena, and A Pudding Mayde of Crandolin. The recipe for amphisbaena added only butter, no spyce, and said serve with no sauce but onely salte.

This morning Kippax fed a miserly scrape of the stain, smuggled out under his fingernail, to his portable electronic tongue. The gas chromatograph, as sensitive and stupid as a bloodhound, tasted spyce compounds aplenty but no butter, and then ran just to look like it was doing something. It was clueless.

The sauce had to be crandolin.

Amphisbaena was a daring catch, this serpent with a head at each end. But crandolin cost at least one life. It was once-upon-common-knowledge that crandolins were light pink as the dawn they imitated as they probed cracks in the shutters protecting pink virgins in their beds. They could only be caught when Crikey! This blood is also ancient virgin blood.

He felt an attack of dizziness coming on, but a quick double punch made his ears ring—that problem solved, the better to tackle the big one.

The temptation to taste the crandolin had been terrible before (he was confident that his palate could sieve the spices from the meat). But the temptation was too much now, for any mortal. And in some moods, Nick Kippax did tell himself that he was indeed, a mortal.

He wet his finger and touched the stain—almost.

At the last millimillimetre, he drew his finger back into his meaty palm.

He felt his blood rushing around his body. It moved with as much purpose as a crowd of people released by a crosswalk light. Fascinating? No.

He picked up the open book and sucked the parchment.