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Gourmet Rhapsody: Book summary and reviews of Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Gourmet Rhapsody

by Muriel Barbery

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery X
Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
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  • Published Aug 2009
    160 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Paperback Original. In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Pierre Athens, the greatest food critic in the world, is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Arthens has been lording it over the world's most esteemed chefs for years, passing judgment on their creations, deciding their fates with a stroke of his pen, destroying and building reputations on a whim. But now, during these his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperately searching for that singular flavor, that sublime something once sampled, never forgotten, the Flavor par excellence. Indeed, this flamboyant and self-absorbed man desires only one thing before he dies: one last taste.

Thus begins a charming voyage that traces the career of Monsieur Arthens from childhood to maturity across a celebration of all manner of culinary delights. Alternating with the voice of the supercilious Arthens is a chorus belonging to his acquaintances and familiars-relatives, lovers, a would-be protégé, even a cat. Each will have his or her say about M. Arthens, a man who has inspired only extreme emotions in people.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Barbery's debut, occasionally rough-edged and uneven in structure, showcases her lush and satisfying prose and sets the stage for what has come. " - Publishers Weekly

"This work will delight foodies with a love of language but may disappoint readers looking for a novel they can really sink their teeth into." - Library Journal

"In Gourmet Rhapsody, Barbery best expresses her talent, demonstrating sensitivity and profound understanding both of life's many flavors and of the ways of the human soul, with all its weaknesses and contradictions." - Food & Beverage Magazine (Italy)

"Muriel Barbery possesses a controlled, rich, and precise language, one that allows readers to taste the very flavors described."- Corriere della Sera (Italy)

"In the pages of this book, Barbery shows off her finest gift: lightness."- La Repubblica (Italy)

This information about Gourmet Rhapsody was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

a treat
The Gourmet is the first novel by Muriel Barbery. Pierre Arthens, France’s greatest food critic, is dying. As he lies on his deathbed in his Rue de Grenelle apartment, he is tormented by his inability to recall the most delicious food to pass his lips, long before he became a critic. The story is narrated by Arthens himself, as he recalls meals and times in his life in an effort to identify the elusive dish; the people and things in his life also recount their experiences and opinions of him. Barbery’s own childhood in Morocco is in evidence, and the apartment building and the concierge make a further appearance in Barbery’s next and very popular novel, “The Elegance of the Hedghog”. I wondered how the musings of a dying man could make much of a novel, but this is a feast of words, a banquet of mouth-watering and evocative descriptions. Alison Anderson has done a first class job of translation. This is truly a treat to relish.

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Author Information

Muriel Barbery Author Biography

Photo: Hélie Gallimard

Muriel Barbery's novels include the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008), and Gourmet Rhapsody (Europa, 2009). She is also the author of The Writer's Cats, illustrated by Maria Guitart, a short tale about esthetics, inspiration, the writing life, and cats. Barbery has lived in Kyōto, Amsterdam, and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside.

Author Interview

Name Pronunciation
Muriel Barbery: Muri-EL

Other books by Muriel Barbery at BookBrowse
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog jacket
  • One Hour of Fervor jacket
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