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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Carlos P. Zilzer on 13-09-2009
If you are a food lover, this is a must to read!
I really enjoy it, The narrations are outstanding, and the descriptions of the characters and foods makes you feel the food in your mouth…
it is really sad that it is not available in Spanish.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Rochelle on 15-06-2011
No Elegance of the Hedgehog
This book does stand alone as a well written piece of fiction, however as I bought it after falling in love with Muriel Barbery's "Elegance of the Hedgehog" I think it is worthwhile comparing the works.
The narrators in the Hedgehog draw you in as co-conspirators, you love them & are firmly attached to their stories. Gourmet, however does not achieve this result with Mr Arthen, and I don't think it is meant to. Mr Arthen is not a likeable character, however by the end of the novel there is a certain understanding between the reader & the narrator. He lacks "humanity", a critical aspect of Hedgehog.
Neither is one sympathetic to his family. This is in part due to some whiny narration.
The food descriptions in the book are remarkable. However I don't read food reviews & no matter how good, these did little to engage me.
This lacks the language, beauty & philosophy evident in Hedgehog & is therefore disappointing.
On it's own it is a good story, well told, if you can cope with the whining narrative of some of the family members.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful