Gourmet Rhapsody

Gourmet Rhapsody

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by Muriel Barbery
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

French novelist Barbery's sensuous first novel, being released here 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). Barbery's debut, occasionally rough-edged and uneven in structure, showcases her lush and satisfying prose and sets the stage for what has come. (Sept.)

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Library Journal
This prequel to French novelist/philosophy professor Barbery's 2008 New York Times best seller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog—also available from HighBridge Audio—was first published in France in 2000. As illustrious food critic Pierre Arthens lies dying, he searches his memories for the flavor par excellence, something to excite his taste buds one final time. The chapters alternate among Pierre's reminiscences and the perspectives of those surrounding his deathbed, including a cat and a Venus statue. Barbery's descriptions of Arthens's memory-lane flavors are tantalizing; however, Pierre is a thoroughly unlikable man (e.g., a supermarket trip elicits more emotion for him than does his wife of 30-plus years). Narrated beautifully by Norman Dietz, Barbara Caruso, Eliza Foss, Jean Brassard, Pete Larkin, and Heather Corrigan, this gloomy, disheartening tale will nonetheless leave listeners wondering what exactly Barbery is trying to say.—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L.
Providence Journal
“A chorus of talented voices alternates in delivering a stark portrait of this master of French cuisine.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner]
From the Publisher
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 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609452216
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
08/25/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
194,821
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author


BARBARA CARUSO is an American graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She enjoys a rich acting career which has included Broadway, off Broadway, and many theaters across the country. On those stages she has performed in plays by Shakespeare, Chekov, Williams, O’Neil, and Neil Simon, to name but a few.

Spoken word audio is an important part of that career. Her countless recordings include the works of Edith Wharton, Margaret Atwood, Maeve Binchy, Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, and children’s classics. AudioFile magazine has chosen her one of their Voices of the Century. She’s won numerous Earphones Awards, including for her narration of The Year of Magical Thinking (an Audie® Award finalist) and The House of Scorta, both published by HighBridge. She is the recipient of the Alexander Scourby Award, presented by the American Foundation for the Blind.

ELIZA FOSS has appeared in numerous theatrical productions, regionally and in New York. Having narrated over thirty audiobooks and short stories, Eliza was featured in AudioFile magazine as one of "audios hottest romance narrators."

PETE LARKIN has wide and deep voiceover and on-camera experience and has worked in virtually all media. In addition to his extensive narration and theater work, he has served as the public address announcer for the New York Mets from 1988-1993 and as a radio personality in Baltimore, Washington and New York.

PAULA PARKER is an award-winning audiobook narrator. Off Broadway she has worked with the Public Theatre and has appeared in various regional productions as well.

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Gourmet Rhapsody 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Gourmet Rhapsody after The Elegance of a Hedgehog. I shed copious tears at the end of that. Then reading about the demise of the pompous food critic dried the tears and the story of his pets were very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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cincmomSB More than 1 year ago
The Elegance of Hedgehog was soooo good. I cannot believe this is the same author. I kept hoping it would get better, I was glad when he finally died.