Perfect vindaloo quest food for thought

00:54, Jul 30 2014

The search for the perfect vindaloo is dished up in the plot of a new novel by Palmerston North author Keith St Clair Butler.

Due to be released next week, The Secret Vindaloo is a humorous and questioning look at identity and discovery.

The Ross Intermediate teacher says the novel is autobiographical; an Anglo-Indian looking at his community and how they are perceived and portrayed.

"Every novel needs some personal traction and mine is born of the imaginings of my life and times."

Butler has published short stories before, but this will be his first novel. It will be celebrated with an official launch on August 24.

"I finished the book finally two years ago and worked on it during a New Zealand mentorship programme. I knew the book needed a champion, and that came in the form of my publisher, Alison Brook from Bay Road Media. She believes in the book as does Dan Myers, my agent."


The reader is taken on a vindaloo-finding quest when Puttla Marks flies into a rage at the local food court over a less than authentic curry. Butler said food was a focus in his novel, using it as a deep metaphor "for the retrieval of a history".

"I guess when you immigrate, you look out for the food you used to eat. All I saw in Australia was homogenised, pasteurised food in shopping malls. I certainly have never found a decent vindaloo in any food court, anywhere."

Butler moved to Palmerston North about eight years ago and teaches the gifted and talented class at Ross.

The Secret Vindaloo will be available at Bruce McKenzie Booksellers from August 7, and the official book launch will be held at the bookshop in conjunction with the Palmerston North City Library on August 24.

Manawatu Standard