In Paris, the world’s greatest food critic is dying. Adored by some and loathed by many, he is desperately longing for one last taste of…something. Barbery’s writing and word choices are beautiful.
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September 2009 Indie Next List
“The perfect foodie book! Monsieur Pierre Arthens, the food critic from The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has been given two days to live and so embarks on a gastric search as he recounts the food -- and people -- that he's devoured in an attempt to find one last, elusive flavor.”
— Mary Cowen, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
From the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog.
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. Here, as in The Elegance of Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery?s story celebrates life?s simple pleasures and sublime moments while condemning the arrogance and vulgarity of power.
About the Author
Muriel Barbery was born in 1969 in Casablanca. She studied philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure and worked for many years as a philosophy teacher in France. Her New York Times bestselling novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa Editions, 2008) has been published in over thirty countries. Barbery now lives in Japan and is working on a third novel.
Praise for Gourmet Rhapsody
"Gourmet Rhapsody shows all the skill of Hedgehog and deals with the same themes: social class, philosophy, Japan and food, glorious descriptions of all kinds of food." —Publishers Weekly
"Barbery demonstrates 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)
"In the pages of this book, Barbery shows off her finest gift: lightness." —La Repubblica
Praise for The Elegance of the Hedgehog
"Two characters provide the double narrative of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and you will—this is going to sound corny—fall in love with both." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"A beautiful story with a large cast of fascinating, complicated characters whose behavior is delightfully unpredictable." —The Wall Street Journal
"Both [of the book's protagonists] create eloquent little essays on time, beauty and the meaning of life, Renée with erudition and Paloma with adolescent brio." —The New York Times
"Wins over its fans with a life-affirming message." —TIME