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The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
The Hundred-foot Journey is the story of Hassan Haji, a boy from Mumbai who embarks, along with his boisterous family, on a picaresque journey first to London and then across Europe, before they ultimately open a restaurant opposite a famous chef, Madame Mallory, in the remote French village of Lumiere. A culinary war ensues, pitting Hassan’s Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Michelin-starred cordon bleu, until Madame Mallory realizes that Hassan is a cook with natural talents far superior to her own.
Full of eccentric characters, hilarious cultural mishaps, vivid settings and delicious meals described in rich, sensuous detail, Hassan’s charming account lays bare the inner workings of the elite world of French haute cuisine, and provides a life-affirming and poignant coming-of-age tale.
This novel follows young Indian boy Hassan Haji from his early life in India with his rather eccentric family, to London, across Europe and finally to France in pursuit of fame and fortune in the world of haute cuisine. Told in the first person, it is full of interesting characters and very detailed descriptions of his hard working life as a chef. It vividly describes every aspect of both Indian and French restaurants and, of course, the food.
The turning point in Hassan’s career occurs when Madame Mallory, a cantankerous chef who tries to drive their family out of business when they open an Indian restaurant directly opposite her high class French restaurant, ends the “war” between them and offers Hassan a job. He takes “The One Hundred Foot Journey” across the road and begins the hard work as her apprentice. After several years he moves to Paris and eventually opens his own restaurant and becomes well known and respected. His skill and hard work earn him the great honour of three Michelin stars.
An interesting coming of age tale with a journalistic insight into the life of a chef in the top echelons of haute cuisine.
Read by Dundas Readers Book Club
In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself.A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don’t fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin
can’t ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest’s deadly rampage.Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking new development rocks the town, which becomes the biggest story in Australia. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is now the one in the spotlight. His reasons for investigating the shooting have suddenly become very personal.Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to discover a truth that becomes darker and more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town’s secrets stay buried.
For the most part, we enjoyed this book. It had us engaged from the first chapter. A priest in a rural community, is seen welcoming his parishioners before his Sunday services, enters the church to don his robes, he returns five minutes later, holding a hunting rifle. Killing five people, one of whom he was just seen greeting with a warm smile and a friendly handshake. What could they have been discussing?
Scrublands is well written, and we liked the small insight into how the media, and in a particular a newspaper journalist works. We loved the side characters and all their backstories, from single mum, Manadalay Blonde, to town recluse, Codger Harris. However, it seemed to lose it’s way a little towards the end. There seemed to be a lot going on in a small, rural town.
Overall, we liked Scrublands and look forward to reading the next book in this series, Silver.
Read by Cultcha Club Book Club