Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Deliciously entertaining, Gourmet Rhapsody, French novelist Barbery’s sensuous first novel (being released for the first time  in the US after the phenomenal success of her second novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog), encompasses a series of witty reflections on the life and career of famous, unlovable French food critic Pierre Arthen, as he lies on his death bed desperate to recapture “a forgotten flavor.”

Lapsing through chapters into nostalgic memories of early, formative tastes, women and pets, Arthens reveals himself as a man driven by “gastronomic ecstasies,” from his childhood impressions of eating grilled meat in Tangiers to summers gorging on fresh fish in Brittany. Alternating with these splendid remembrances are decidedly more salty commentary by his resentful children (“Die in your silk sheets, in your pasha’s bed, in your bourgeois cage, die, die, die”); long-suffering wife, Anna; the exultant tramp outside his Paris apartment building whom he ignored for 10 years; even his faithful cat, Rick (named for the character in the film Casablanca). –PW

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About Steven Deineh

Steven is a librarian at San Diego County Library headquarters. He mostly enjoys reading young adult fiction (some of his favorites include Feed by M.T. Anderson, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling), science fiction/fantasy (Ender's Game & series by Orson Scott Card, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke), and fiction (anything by Sarah Waters, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett). When not reading, you can find him sleeping, drinking coffee, and wanderlusting all over San Diego County and the world.

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