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Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Gourmet Rhapsody (original 2000; edition 2009)

by Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translator)

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915599,598 (3.14)44
Title:Gourmet Rhapsody
Authors:Muriel Barbery
Other authors:Alison Anderson (Translator)
Info:Europa Editions (2009), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Paris, Read in 2012

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The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery (2000)



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» See also 44 mentions

English (50)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All (59)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
books to read on your lunch break when you forget to bring actual food ( )
  weeta | Jan 27, 2017 |
2.5 stars - I did enjoy the vivid and exquisite descriptions of food and eating, but as a story, even a short one, the book did fall well short of the mark. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
This is a self indulgent story of a man whose whole purpose in life was to eat.
Now he is dying he is spending the time he has left thinking of all the meals he has eaten and which was the very best.
Not much in the story to keep my interest, but a light read nevertheless.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review. ( )
  Welsh_eileen2 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Not as good as the Elegance of the Hedgehog but I think maybe I need to reread it. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
A secret of mine: I have difficulty reading menus. I can't make heads or tales of them. I can't focus. I would gladly have lived in the era of the man ordering for the lady. I am happy to it just about anything. Cookbooks are another thing. Those I like to read. Restaurant reviews, back to menus. Restaurant reviewer often end up in throes of ecstasy, their descriptions leave me wondering, is thus a meal or an especially frothy Botticelli he is describing. Gourmet Rhapsody is somewhat like that in parts. My eyes glazed at those parts. Yet, they were necessary.

The plot or back story is that an esteemed food critic is on his deathbed. He is having a bit of a Rosebud* moment. There is a taste he once to savor one last time, but he cannot recall what it is. The chapters alternate between his recalling magnificent food experiences as he attempts to discern what that perfect food was and the monologues of those in his life: wife, mistresses, estranged children, employees, cats, doctor, the beggar he passes every day. It is in his reminiscences that the food descriptions tended to lose me, but they were necessary. He reveals much about what he is - a heartless sensualist. Nothing is more important than the utter indulging of his senses. Second to that is his need to be esteemed, powerful.

The monologues of those who know him, most intimately reveal a monster of ego. For the reader, there is no liking this man, though there is a sweetness in the child he was. Luck for me, I am not one who needs to like the characters in a book. For his intimates, there is a range of attachments and feelings from loathing to ambivalence to worship. These reveal much about the speaker, as is usually the case with monologues. The cat's monologue was a mistake.

Many of the elements of the food sections that left me impatient grew less of a problem for me. A quarter of the way I nearly put the book aside. But, it is short and I have pneumonia, so why not push on. By the halfway mark I was more engrossed. By the end I was glad I had read it and was framing in my mind to whom I ought to
recommend it.

Does the story end with some thing to redeem this total jerk? I won't say. I will say it is not necessary and handled in the wrong way could render the entire novella utter rot. Does he figure out the longed for deathbed food. Not saying.

( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
At her florid best, Barbery captures the arousal inflamed by good food (and good food writing) almost as well as Julia Child, who inspired countless readers with her recipes and epiphanic mouthful of sole meunière. While reading can’t replace the joy of biting into a juicy tomato, Barbery cooks up a decent substitute.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Muriel Barberyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anderson, AlisonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Stephane, without whom....
Stéphanovi, bez něhož...
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When I took possession of the table, it was as supreme monarch.
Ke stolu jsem usedal jako vládce.
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A great food critic who can make or destroy the reputation of a chef with a stroke of his pen, Pierre Arthens faces his imminent death by trying to recall the one perfect flavor he sampled in his youth, a flavor that he believes forms the ultimate truth of his life.… (more)

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