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Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe
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Chez Moi (2007)

by Agnes Desarthe

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Showing 4 of 4
What a beautifully written story with such carefully chosen words. This was reminiscent of Nabokov for me - the guilt and penitence filled with beauty and innocent longing, this time from a woman's perspective. Truely Myriam is tortured by her past, giving up her family, and living from a suitcase for over half a decade, even turning to that fabled circus life for a time. Redemption, if it ever comes, takes the form of her restaurant, Chez Moi, the "house of me," with walls lined with her most cherished books, where she bathes in her own kitchen's sink. With metaphors and forgiveness, she finds peace in nourishing the souls that most need her through cooking. Exquisite details of recipes and longing, this story, though short, serves up a slice of humanity at it's best and worst, like a delicious wedge of key lime pie: sour and sweet and intoxicating to the very end.
  EmThomas | Dec 7, 2010 |
I really liked this quirky french novel. The previous review gives a good synopsis of the plot. It is about somebody trying to get their life together after a disappointing marriage which ended in a traumatic event after which the heroine loses everything including her self respect. Her only faith in herself is her cooking through which she gradually rebuilds her life with a little help from her friends. It's amusing, fthe food is good with out being precious about it and it's well written. ( )
  CommonReeda | May 4, 2009 |
I'm not sure if I liked this book. The writing was good, I could see the characters and the situations but the main character, Myriam was very confused and annoying. She is trying to rebuild her life after a traumatic event and the beginning of the story is cluttered and rambling. Perhaps there is some sort of history of mental illness? If not for the guiding hand of strangers who knows where she would have ended up.

I don't think I would have finished the book if it had been longer and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. ( )
  cal8769 | Oct 30, 2008 |
Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe is an odd book, and not one I can really recommend despite several appealing features. Originally written and published in France, Chez Moi is the story of Myriam and is told in her voice. At the start of the novel, Myriam has begun a new restaurant, “Chez Moi,” and despite being a gifted cook, she lacks any other qualities to make this new business a success. Myriam is middle aged, burdened with secrets, and perhaps a bit mad. Much of the first half of the book is taken up with her wild and sometimes incoherent ruminations. There is a beauty to her guilt and flights of metaphor, but over time it becomes tiresome, especially as the narrative fails to move forward. Myriam is slowly joined in her new enterprise by an assortment of peculiar but kindly helpers, and over the last half of the novel both her restaurant and personal life take form and prosper. The strength of the Desarthe’s writing is in her generous, detailed, and sensuous descriptions of ingredients, dishes prepared, and effects of Myriam’s culinary artistry. Less satisfying is the story’s plot. Myriam’s personal history is only alluded to and never quite makes sense, and the story’s resolution comes too easily and lacks credibility. ( )
1 vote Ciruelo | Aug 3, 2008 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Dante
To my friends, for whom I love to cook, and to Claude, at Le Passage.
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Am I a liar?
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Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143113232, Paperback)

At forty-three, Myriam has been a wife, mother, and lover—but never a restauranteur. When she opens Chez Moi in a quiet neighborhood in Paris, she has no idea how to run a business, but armed only with her love of cooking, she is determined to try. Barely able to pay the rent, Myriam secretly sleeps in the dining room and bathes in the kitchen sink, while struggling to come to terms with the painful memories of her past. But soon enough her delectable cuisine brings her many neighbors to Chez Moi, and Myriam finds that she may get a second chance at life and love. Redolent with the sights, smells, and tastes of Paris, Chez Moi is a charming story that will appeal to the many readers who fell in love with Joanne Harris’s Chocolat and Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:53 -0400)

"At forty-three, Myriam has been a wife, a mother, and a lover, but never a restauranteur. When she opens Chez Moi, she has no idea how to run a business, she knows only how to cook. Barely able to pay rent, she lives in her sparse restaurant while struggling to come to terms with her troubled past. In time, her delectable cuisine brings her many neighbors to Chez Moi, and with their help Myriam realizes that she may get a second chance at life and love after all."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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