HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

In the Kitchen (2009)

by Monica Ali

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5474031,653 (2.91)45
Gabriel Lightfoot, the executive chef at the posh Imperial Hotel, has more than one pot set to boil over. Beside the unusual nuisance of brash diners, unpredictable kitchen staff, and an absolute ogre of a genreal manager, Gabriel finds further difficulty just under his nose when a Ukranian porter turns up dead. Throw in a mysterious woman from Belarus, add a dash of family trauma, and it's obvious the beleagured chef is overseeing a complicated menu that even he might not be able to master.… (more)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
After the success of her debut “Brick Lane”, Monica Ali revisits the immigrant experience in this her third novel. This time though, the location is a central London hotel’s restaurant kitchen and its working life. Ali’s prose captures the teamwork of the assortment of nationalities with their different temperaments and makes you feel the tensions and heat of their working environment.
The executive chef, Gabriel Lightfoot, struggles to keep the team on track as well as worrying about his elderly, unwell father and his poor relationship with him and at the same time trying to finalise plans to open his own restaurant in order to fulfil a long-held ambition. Ali reveals the pressures building on him and his mental equilibrium is thrown off balance by revelations about his dead brother and his suspicions about the activities of some of the hotel and kitchen staff.
These challenges build to an intense climax where Ali’s writing steers you to an ambiguous ending and Gabriel faces an uncertain future.
  camharlow2 | Dec 17, 2018 |
A most painfully dull read. I see the point Ali is trying to make about undocumented workers etc, but she has chosen whiny, annoying unlikeable characters to tell her story. Another bomb! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
An uneasy mix of kitchen culture, mental health, class and race. I admired what she was trying to do without actually enjoying the book much. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
In the Kitchen tells the story of a man whose life changes after the chance encounter with a woman he falls inexplicably in love with. She doesn't love him and is only staying with him for the money. He keeps telling himself he can do the right thing and break up with her but he can't. He tells himself he will quit smoking after the last cigarette but he doesn't. Sound familiar? In the end, he suffered a mental breakdown, lost his job and the restaurant he is going to have. But he learned that life is not only about himself, and he gets a chance to win back his girlfriend. One thing to gripe about the plot though is the contrived dialogue in both speech and subjects. ( )
  siok | Aug 20, 2016 |
I gave up on this one...just couldn't really care about any of the characters. All seemed whiney and self-absorbed. I'm disappointed because I expected better from the author & the setting (a London restaurant) sounded interesting. ( )
  mfdavis | May 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Monica Ali’s main themes are already coming into focus. “In the Kitchen,” like her wildly successful first novel, “Brick Lane,” takes on multicultural, postcolonial Britain. What does it look and sound like? Who gets included? What are its prospects?
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, William Grimes (pay site) (Aug 6, 2009)
 
This novel also demonstrates some of the strengths of her first work. There is much pleasure to be had in the lovingly crafted characters, the vivid scenes and the generously comic eye that lurks even in a novel detailing great human tragedy.

However, these many strengths do not constitute a thoroughly engaging whole, largely because of a lack of narrative drive. Perhaps in an attempt to mirror Gabe's uncertainty and vacillation, the story lurches erratically and stalls repeatedly.

One of the recurring ideas in the novel is the nature of choice in life - the degree to which one can shape one's own destiny. But however shapeless real life may be, readers can be unforgiving of novels with a real-life plot structure and, as a literary conceit, it is old news.

The thematic development is also clunky, with many of the characters' conversations on capital-T themes seeming tacked-on and didactic.

Ali furnishes Gabe's kitchen with the intellectual Nikolai, a refugee doctor forced to become a junior chef, and his conversations with the increasingly manic Gabe recall the Socratic discussion of a philosophy tutorial.

Towards the end, the plot finally gathers momentum, indicating that some vigorous pruning would have released the story and made for a more absorbing novel.

As it is, too many readers will be lost in the swirls of Gabe's erratic breakdown, which is unfortunate because this writer's many talents could have made for another critical and popular success
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Aliprimary authorall editionscalculated
Björkt, Moa-LisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Gabriel Lightfoot, the executive chef at the posh Imperial Hotel, has more than one pot set to boil over. Beside the unusual nuisance of brash diners, unpredictable kitchen staff, and an absolute ogre of a genreal manager, Gabriel finds further difficulty just under his nose when a Ukranian porter turns up dead. Throw in a mysterious woman from Belarus, add a dash of family trauma, and it's obvious the beleagured chef is overseeing a complicated menu that even he might not be able to master.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Monica Ali's book In the Kitchen was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (2.91)
0.5 1
1 10
1.5 1
2 24
2.5 6
3 31
3.5 15
4 23
4.5 1
5 4

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,579,578 books! | Top bar: Always visible