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The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C.…
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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2008)

by Richard C. Morais

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
My expectations were high: I had seen a preview of the movie based on this book (and who can resist Helen Mirren....) and set out to read it before the movie's premiere in the local theaters. So far it seems that it might be one of those cases when the movie turns out better than the book (to be confirmed, of course). While reading it, I regretted the author's decision to narrate the story from the first person - as an Indian Muslim. It just didn't ring true coming from this author, even with all his experience of having been a foreign correspondent. I found that he couldn't put himself in the shoes of his protagonist. At times, there was too much unnecessary information - shockingly unpleasant but aiming at rough frankness, thus lacking grace. But at other times, the writing was rather appealing, especially his description of England and France where the family was compelled to move from India in the wake of a horrible event, in search of a better start. French cuisine was also given an thorough depiction, which was quite enlightening. However, in the course of reading I was distracted by a recurrent grammatical mishap of sorts throughout the book - using too much of what is called "double subject" (ex. "The champagne, it was as fresh and sparkly as the blushing bride..." or "Hassan, he has the makings of a great chef..."). It's almost OK (though not in my book) in an informal conversation, but not in a fiction book - here it was just too widely used both in narrative and dialogue. But as far as plot goes, the book was quite engaging and a fast read. ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Jul 28, 2014 |
Beautiful descriptions---the writing was wonderful even though I got a little lost in people's names, ie., keeping straight who was who, and understanding the food varieties. And three stars---worth all the effort? Maybe that's the big question. ( )
  nyiper | Jun 20, 2014 |
This book has little substance to it. It is the story of a middle-class Indian boy who rises to become a top chef of French haute cuisine.

Aside from his mother being killed when he is a youth, there are no substantial obstacles to his rise. A little bit of prejudice that is lightly touched upon. Various friends and family dying as they grow old.

Crises of creativity and finance that are resolved as quickly as they come about and long before they become anything dire.

What I must give the author credit for is writing well and so compellingly that I was never tempted to set the book aside.

If you're looking for a light, summer read, this is one; if you want something to make you think, to discuss with others, this is not what to read.
( )
  qaphsiel | May 11, 2014 |
This book has little substance to it. It is the story of a middle-class Indian boy who rises to become a top chef of French haute cuisine.

Aside from his mother being killed when he is a youth, there are no substantial obstacles to his rise. A little bit of prejudice that is lightly touched upon. Various friends and family dying as they grow old.

Crises of creativity and finance that are resolved as quickly as they come about and long before they become anything dire.

What I must give the author credit for is writing well and so compellingly that I was never tempted to set the book aside.

If you're looking for a light, summer read, this is one; if you want something to make you think, to discuss with others, this is not what to read.
( )
  qaphsiel | May 11, 2014 |
I am almost speechless at how much I enjoyed this book. The Hundred-Foot Journey
is a beautiful, thoughtfully written story about one man’s trek from unwelcome immigrant to renowned chef in Paris. Hassam Haji starts life living above his grandfather's restaurant in Mumbai. When they family leaves india and settles in France it becomes Hassam's dream to be a chef in a French restaurant. His decision to abandon his native cuisine impacts all his family relationships but his efforts to be accepted by the French culinary culture are the meat of the story.

I was captivated not only by the story itself but by author Richard Morais' evocative descriptions of food. Like a great chef who skillfully brings together all the components of a perfect meal Morais weaves sentences that make your mouth water and leave you wanting more.

I could go on with my comparisons of writing and cooking but I’ll boil it down by saying read this book! It is a lovely ode to the magic of food that will fill you up until the last page, when you’ll smile and push back from the table feeling wonderfully, happily satisfied (I couldn’t resist). ( )
  cathgilmore | Jan 24, 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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