Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey - Richard C. Morais

Partial synopsis from
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 Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. The Hundred-Foot Journey 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.

This was my book club's pick for May.  Half of us gave up on it before finishing.  The other half (including me) finished it but did not find the reading enjoyable.  As one member described it, the writing was "laborious."

I did enjoy the section based in Lumiere the most.  And appreciated the character growth and development of Madame Mallory.  The other characters, however, were more static and one dimensional. 

However, the narrative itself was unbelievably slow.  The descriptions of food, of settings, of everything was over the top (and I'm usually a fan of descriptive writing).  The random French words and phrases I'm sure were there to give the novel more flavor and perhaps sense of place.  However, I found them just plain frustrating as again and again I had to go to Google to find translations.

And, honestly, the significance of the whole message of the novel passed me by.


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