I received an amusing reader letter speculating about the connection between Proust’s madeleine and mandelbrodt.
Dear Ms. Zevin: I am enjoying A.J. Fikry enormously. Your mention of Proust raised this memory, and I thought it would interest you.
I bake mandelbrot, which my old Jewish friends from Siberia and Poland tell me is exactly like what their mothers used to bake. Also a friend XXXX told me they are what her mama in southern Italy made. NPR reported that the madeleines in Proust’s story were really dried rusk type of cookies. Not at all like the madeleines that are sold under that title today. I checked, and learned that Proust’s mother was born Jewish. Mandelbrot, of course! If you would like to have my great recipe for those cookies, let me know.
Google will not confirm this for me, but I like the idea that Proust may have been biting into mandelbrodt. Either way, I have requested that the reader send me her recipe. When one is offered a “great recipe,” it is foolish not to accept.
Also, the paperback version of A.J. Fikry debuted at number nine on the New York Times Best Seller Paperback Trade Fiction list, right between Murakami and E.L. James.