Gourmet Rhapsody

( 5 )

Overview

In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the greatest food critic in the world is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Pierre Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years. 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.

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Gourmet Rhapsody

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Overview

In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the greatest food critic in the world is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Pierre Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years. 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.

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 Monsieur Arthens, a man who has inspired only extreme emotions in people. Here, as in The Elegance of the 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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Narrated beautifully . . .”
Library Journal

“The moment of revelation pack[s] a mighty wallop.”
Providence Journal

Providence Journal
“A chorus of talented voices alternates in delivering a stark portrait of this master of French cuisine.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner]
Providence Journal
“The moment of revelation pack[s] a mighty wallop.”
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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
AudioFile
“ A chorus of talented voices alternates in delivering a stark portrait of this master of French cuisine.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611745696
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company
  • Publication date: 10/10/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 5.78 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

MURIEL BARBERY is a French novelist and professor of philosophy. Her second novel L'Élégance du hérisson (translated into English as The Elegance of the Hedgehog) topped the French best-seller lists for 30 consecutive weeks and is an international bestseller.

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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Which book to read first? Definitely both!

    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.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Disappointing

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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