In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

by Monica Ali
3.0 12


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In the Kitchen by Monica Ali

Monica Ali, nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has written a follow-up to Brick Lane that will further establish her as one of England's most compelling and original voices.

Gabriel L ightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern E ngland mill town, making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial H otel, he is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. D espite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off.

Until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a small death, a lonely death — but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.

Elsewhere, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and the restaurant manager appears to be running an illegal business under Gabe's nose.

Enter L ena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. U nder her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows — and the future he thought he wanted.

Readers and reviewers have been stunned by the breadth of humanity in Monica Ali's fiction. S he is compared to D ickens and called one of three British novelists who are "the voice of a generation" by Time magazine. In the Kitchenis utterly contemporary yet has all the drama and heartbreak of a great nineteenth-century novel. Ali is sheer pleasure to read, a truly magnificent writer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416571681
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 06/16/2009
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Monica Ali has been named by Granta as one of the twenty best young British novelists. She is the author of In the Kitchen, Alentejo Blue, and Brick Lane, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in London with her husband and two children.


London, England

Date of Birth:

October 20, 1967

Place of Birth:

Dhaka, Bangladesh


B.A. with Honors, Oxford, 1989

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In the Kitchen 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
kren250 More than 1 year ago
Set in London, this book is about Chef Gabe Lightfoot, and his very stressful life. Plagued with girlfriend troubles (all his own fault), work troubles, and family issues, his life is spiraling out of control. On top of it all, he makes some startling discoveries about his childhood, and himself. I was really torn on this book whether to give it three stars or four. I ended up going with the four stars since the writing is so good. The plot itself, while interesting, got a little too contrived for me with the political and philosophical discussions of a few of the characters. At times I felt as if the author was using the book as her own personal agenda, rather than just letting the story unfold.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Justsooze More than 1 year ago
Gabriel Lightfoot is a 42-year-old executive chef putting in his time trying to revive the less than stellar restaurant at the Imperial Hotel in London, while waiting for the financing to finally make his dream of opening his own restaurant come true. The book begins with an interesting premise, but the more I learned about Gabriel's life both in and out of the kitchen, the less I cared what happened to him. His life seems "not quite good enough' in all aspects...and then the body of one of his kitchen staff is discovered - an accidental death or not? Just when it should have become more interesting, it got bogged down. Reminiscent of a meal that wasn't good enough to even finish."
BillPilgrim More than 1 year ago
There were some good parts to this story. I did not care much for the descriptions of cooking science and weaving. The author must have felt compelled to keep that in the book after doing the research. The most interesting were the host of immigrants working in the kitchen, and the peripheral issues of human trafficking and virtual slavery. It is really hard to fathom the relationship between Gabriel and Lena. Why is he so fascinated with her, and why does he believe that there is a possibility that she could possibly be interested in him romantically. I thought the lack of any description of their sex acts beyond the very early foreplay by Gabriel made it impossible to understand this attraction by Gabriel. If the author would have described their interplay during sex, it would have given this aspect of the book much more substance. I did not much care for the end of the book, the last 70 pages or so. It seemed like there had been not enough earlier that would have predicted it. It should have been a more gradual process to lead to that behavior from the main character.
BookLover526 More than 1 year ago
I really hated this book. I did not like the characters or the writing or the plot. Neither the main character nor the peripheral ones were interesting. And I wanted to throw myself on a loom with all the weaving description.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Undoubtedly realistic novel set in the kitchen of an upscale dining establishment in today's London. The characters are classic--no doubt their types can be found in any number of commercial kitchens in any major city of any western country. This felt as real to me as some of the chef memoirs of recent years and as funny. I liked the book even better than her breakout success Brick Lane. Author Ali has enormous talents and deserves great success.
Harris_Two More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author. She is fantastic. The story and the characters are fascinating and believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yesh_Prabhu More than 1 year ago
In "Brick Lane", Monica Ali showed great promise of a talented writer with formidable narrative skill. The novel was short-listed for the Booker prize. In her new novel "In the Kitchen", her second novel and third book ("Alentejo Blue", a collection of stories, was her second book), Monica Ali has proven that she is quite capable of writing a follow up worthy of praise. The novel starts rather slowly, but the pace gains speed and the narration gains momentum, as the novel progresses. The second half of the novel is extraordinary, with many bewitching passages, and here the reader gets glimpses of an astonishing and magical writer. This book could be considered as three stories weaved into a lively novel, or three strands of a story braided as if to create a lovely plait. Gabriel Lightfoot, the protagonist, is executive chef at London's Imperial Hotel. The first story is Gabriel's relationship with his long time girlfriend, Charlie, an attractive, red-haired singer at a club. The second story is Gabriel's affair and fascination with a beautiful and rather mysterious woman from Belarus, an escaped sex slave named Lena. The third story is Gabriel's relationship with his father, who has been diagnosed with cancer. And all three stories revolve around the central incident of the novel: a porter - an illegal immigrant from Ukraine, is found murdered in the basement of the Imperial Hotel. Through realistic descriptions of a busy kitchen of a fancy restaurant, and uncontrived, smooth flowing dialogues, vivid descriptions, gripping passages, and the magic of her pen, Monica Ali has created an absorbing and entertaining novel. And I think "In the Kitchen" will enhance her reputation as one of the important English writers, and a master of English prose. Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ