Erica Heller, the daughter of the novelist Joseph Heller (“Catch-22”), describes an imagined lunch at the original Union Square Cafe with her dad, in “One Last Lunch.” It’s the first of 50 fairly brief chapters about final meals, invented by writers and others, with people they loved. So you also have Daniel Bellow with his father, Saul, at Barney Greengrass; and Elizabeth Mailer and her father, Norman, at Elephant & Castle. Not all involve relatives, but given the number of fathers, the book would make a fine Father’s Day gift. There’s also Sara Moulton, the chef, imagining lunch with her mentor, Julia Child; and Bob Balaban, the actor, sharing lunch at Lindy’s with Groucho Marx. The book was Ms. Heller’s idea, and it ends with another lunch, an acrimonious one, that she imagined with her father at the new Union Square Cafe. It took her more than two years to chase down the subjects and get them to submit their pieces. As for who did not come through, “I could have killed for Mike Nichols,” she said.
“One Last Lunch: A Final Meal with Those Who Meant So Much to Us,” edited by Erica Heller (Abrams Press, $25)