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Chocolat by Joanne Harris
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Chocolat (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Joanne Harris

Series: Chocolat (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,577141773 (3.8)357
Member:ColmGuerin
Title:Chocolat
Authors:Joanne Harris
Info:London ; New York : Doubleday, 1999.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, Read in 2012

Work details

Chocolat by Joanne Harris (1999)

(22) book club (23) British (25) chick lit (27) chocolate (213) contemporary (23) contemporary fiction (48) fantasy (37) fiction (849) film (19) food (122) France (422) French (19) general fiction (23) gypsies (65) Joanne Harris (24) literature (32) love (47) made into movie (46) magic (74) magical realism (129) movie (41) novel (89) own (35) read (83) relationships (26) religion (69) romance (164) to-read (94) unread (26)
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English (126)  Dutch (7)  Lithuanian (2)  Finnish (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (142)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
3.5 stars. I think I'd have been really into it if I hadn't seen the movie first--it was a little jarring to me that the characters I'm so in love with from the movie were (gasp!) different in the book. But it's well-written, and some of the changes are interesting. ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
Hmmm. I had this book in my "TBR" pile when I read a mention in a Christian publication using this book (or the movie) as an example of media making the religious look stupid or evil or otherwise unappealing while glorifying those who ridiculed Christians. Now I felt too guilt to read it! But no book can stay at my house too very long, so I gave it a shot.

Well, certainly the criticism was truthful, in that the village priest is the "man in black" of the piece and the heroine was raised a witch. I hope this does not show a permanent bias on Harris' part, and that other works will balance this out. But I did enjoy the piece. I loved the mother and daughter, and found the descriptions of the chocolates seductive indeed. The sympathetic characters were all the underclass or the downtrodden and, while Harris made them non-Christian in most instances, it is unfortunate to note that many Christians could learn lessons in how to treat others in the actions of our chocolatier. ( )
  wareagle78 | Feb 16, 2014 |
"Chocolat" is an oddly moving and at times, painful story of hidden longings in a tiny, depressed and depressing village in France. Vianne and her young daughter drift into town on the wind and open a chocolate shop at the very beginning of Lenten abstinence in a town weighed down by a warped and self-righteous priest. ( )
  cfk | Feb 14, 2014 |
I have lost count of the number of times I have watched the movie that is based off of this book, so I figured it was time for me to read the book. Like most movies based on books, the movie is only about half true to the book. In this case though, that did not really bother me.
Joanne Harris has a way of writing that has me savoring every word like one of Vianne Rocher's fine chunks of dark chocolate. What I would have given for a few recipes of the dishes she served in La Celeste Praline, especially the pots of chocolate that were served as frequently as coffee. The descriptions of the various confectioneries and even the non-chocolate dishes were detailed with a light touch, so that I never felt too overwhelmed -- but I still wanted to dive into the pages all the same.
All of the characters, large parts and small, were unique and original, even down to the quirky preferences and hidden burdens. I could easily relate to Armande's attraction to the color red and her unrefined mannerisms, as well as Guillaume's indulgence of his pet dog. So many of the characters could pass for people that I encounter every day -- from Roux's skepticism to Josephine's renewed independence to Caro's need to control. These characters will stay with me for a long time.
Probably the most interesting character, aside from Vianne Rocher, is the town's priest, Pere Reynaud. Like most of the rest of the town, he masks inner demons and makes up for them with his profession of choice. Though those inner torments are slowly revealed through the course of the book, I don't feel that his story was completely resolved, or that he even experienced any true character growth.
Vianne Rocher is certainly the most creative character in the book, both easily likeable and eternally mysterious. Haunted by memories of a nomadic lifestyle with her mother, she intermittently addresses her conflicting desires to both travel and put down roots even as her simple, self-taught cooking and hospitality brings about subtle and lasting change in the village of Lansquenet. A thread of fantasy runs through the plot as Vianne hints at the ability to read people's thoughts, choosing not to influence them, and consults her mother's tarot cards in her darker hours of contemplation. She even adds a touch of magic and mystery to her Chocolaterie to draw the wary villagers into the shop. Oh, what I would give to pay a visit to that amazing place myself. ( )
  JacobsBeloved | Nov 25, 2013 |
A warm February wind brings a stranger and her daughter to the small French town of Lansquenet. The stranger is Vianne Rocher who in no time opens a chocolate shop across from the local Catholic Church. This infuriates Father Reynaud who is positive that Vianne has done this intentionally to lead his parishoners into temptation and to make them break their Lenten fasts. Vianne’s presence and friendship does shake up the sleepy little town, but in ways that not even the fanatical priest can predict. This is a delectable tale, filled with great characters - all of whom seem to have secrets. A marvelous story about the power that comes from striving for happiness, rather than focusing on another’s faults and differences. One of those rare books that I was sorry to see come to an end. ( )
  Hanneri | Oct 25, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Roman over de smaak van liefde
Dedication
In memory of my great-grandmother Marie Andre Sorin (1892-1968)
First words
We came on the wind of the carnival.
Quotations
There is a kind of alchemy in the tranformation of base chocolate into this wise fool's gold, a layman's magic which even my mother might have relished. As I work I clear my mind, breathing deeply. The windows are open, and the through draught would be cold if it were not for the heat of the stoves, the copper pans, the rising vapour from the melting couverture. The mingled scents of chocolate, vanilla, heated copper and cinnamon are intoxicating, powerfully suggestive; the raw and earthy tang of the Americas, the hot and resinous perfume of the rainforest. This is how I travel now, as the Aztecs did in their sacred rituals. The court of Montezuma. Cortez and Columbus. The food of the gods, bubbling and frothing in ceremonial goblets. The bitter elixir of life.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
When beautiful, unmarried Vianne Rocher sweeps into the pinched little French town of Lansquenet on the heels of the carnival and opens a gem of a chocolate shop across the square from the church, she begins to wreak havoc with the town's Lenton vows. Her uncanny ability to preceive her customers' private discontents and alleviate them with just the right confection coaxes the villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness, but enrages Pere Reynaud, the local priest. Certain only a witch could stir such sinful indulgence and devise such clever cures, Reynaud pits himself against Vianne and vows to block the chocolate festival she plans for Easter Sunday, and to run her out of town forever. Witch or not (she'll never tell), Vianne soon sparks a dramatic confrontation between those who prefer the cold comforts of the church and those who revel in their newly discovered taste for pleasure. (0-131-00018-X)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552998486, Paperback)

trade edition paperback, vg++

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:17 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaund denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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