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The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C.…

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2008)

by Richard C. Morais

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
What a nice book. Not great but it is funny, sad, romantic, hilarious. And it is about cooking and food. But even without this it would be a good book. I read Morais' first novel Buddahood Brooklyn and didn't like it too much. It was too poorly researched in my eyes. Too stereotype. You could accuse him of this with this book as well. He seems to easily fall into stereotypes. We have the typical Indian family we all know from Bollywood movies and other TV series etc. But still this book is very entertaining and also a happy book. It describes a journey from one side of life to another. Which is only hundred foot in distance but worlds apart. From the Indian slums to the Haute Cuisine in France.

Apart from the stereotyping what I did not like very much was the fast forward mode the author gets into sometimes. It isn't really worked out very well how the man characters journey from a dishwasher in his dad's Indian restaurant to a highly acclaimed chef did happen. A lot of this is just handled in a brief fast forward section.

An entertaining read with a nice lesson to learn. ( )
  PeterNZ | May 11, 2015 |
I started this book with high hopes. I had seen the film version first, and was anxious to read the book. Be advised. This book is nothing like the film. The book failed to hold my interest, and the plot details were of such difference to the film that I wondered if it was the same story. I know that books and films are hardly ever alike. But this was a stretch. Props to the genius who created the film, which was a much better story than the book. ( )
  briandrewz | Jan 1, 2015 |
I heard about this book because of the movie but I haven't seen the movie. This is the story if Hassan Haji and his journey to running a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris from his beginnings in Mumbai. While this book was enjoyable it seemed to falter after Hassan's relocation to Paris and my attention started to waver. I think it would appeal to those who like to read at length about food and recipes. ( )
  PennyAnne | Dec 26, 2014 |
I also read The Hundred-Foot Journey and watched the movie. They really changed the plot in the movie, so be advised. In fact they took out all religion--which means they also took out the climax of the story.

The story follows Hassan's life starting in India growing up over his grandfather's restaurant, then working in his father's restaurant. Tragedy strikes and they leave India for a short stint in London, then land in Lumiere, France. Hassan's father opens an Indian restaurant across the street from Madame Mallory's French restaurant. A battle of wits, cross-cultural misunderstandings, and trouble ensues, but Hassan discovers he has a gift in the kitchen.

What I thought: Well, I enjoyed it but it wasn't a favorite. The plot seemed a bit unrealistic because Hassan was a Muslim who went on a wild boar hunt, drank French wine, slept with multiple women, and never married which seemed weird to me since he was an Indian Muslim. Furthermore, I would think he would include yummy Indian cooking in his restaurant--but no, he stuck to classic French cooking.

Without reference to religion, the movie was a feel-good story, rated PG. ( )
1 vote heidip | Dec 15, 2014 |
Not as often as I should, but occasionally I break from my genre reading habits and crack open a non-fiction piece, or an adult work of fiction. One that has such care with the language and deals with the themes that adults experience poignantly.

This last summer we went to see the movie version of this tale and of course with screen adaptations one expects the book to be better. However, the storytellers that took this work and adapted it to the screen were better able to realize the vision of what the underlying story that appeals to all should be.

Here the theme has much more to do with the journey after the 100 feet. In the movie as a contrast, things are much more full circle. Here the influence of the Mother is explored much longer and then disappears as a second guide comes in the last third of the book. A guide that causes the distinct message to disappear.

The movie binds family, and created family much more strongly while the book has us look more at a journey that abruptly changes with our introduction of Paris and its successes, while making light of the years and milestones before getting to it as so much of what surely occurred was not added, or deleted. The influence of Madame Mallory so great in book and movie, that she as the main guide makes us wonder how she become secondary in the last act, and for this, looseness, the introduction of a three star chef whose life is the catalyst for action on our heroes part, rather than our hero growing internally, which we see in the movie, loses that star quality we would expect in such a hero that we have followed.

This is why a solid, almost great novel, is an almost great novel. And why the movie is something I will enjoy over and over, and never return to this work. (Though the early India scenes, and the descriptions there of food and smells and tastes and India are awesome, much less so after the Haji's leave for Europe yet Hassan comes to love the flavor of Europe more.) ( )
  DWWilkin | Nov 23, 2014 |
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I, Hassan Haji, was born, the second of six children, above my grandfather's restaurant on the Napan Sea Road in what was then called West Bombay, two decades before the great city was renamed Mumbai.
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Book description
Abbas Haji is the proud owner of a modest family restaurant in Mumbai. But when tragedy strikes, Abbas propels his boisterous family into a picaresque journey across Europe, finally settling in the remote French village of Lumiere, where he establishes an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai.Much to the horror of their neighbour, a famous chef named Madame Mallory, the Indian establishment opposite her own begins to garner a following. Little does she know that the young Hassan, son of Abbas, has discovered French cuisine and has vowed to become a great French chef. Hassan is a natural whose talents far outweigh Mme. Mallory, but the tough old Frenchwoman will not brook defeat.Thus ensues an entertaining culinary war pitting Hassan's Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Mme. Mallory, leading the young Hassan to greatness and his true destiny.
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"That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist." And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life's journey in this novel. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, it is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste. Born above his grandfather's modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumiere, a small village in the French Alps. The boisterous Haji family takes Lumiere by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais, that of the famous chef Madame Mallory, and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures. This story is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. It is a fable that is a testament to the inevitability of destiny.… (more)

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