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Review by Suze
Pierre Arthens is dying, there's nothing that can be done for him anymore. He was a famous food critic and people loved his work, but they also feared him. There's one taste Pierre is still looking for, the last thing he wants to eat before he's ready to pass on. Only what is it? He's looking for the taste, but can't seem to remember what it is. He's desperately trying to search his brain for the scent and the flavor, but can he find the memory on time?
Pierre Arthens isn't a man who's loved by everyone. His wife loves him, but he hasn't treated her very well. His children hate him intensely. There are many people he has offended, but as he was a legend he managed to get away with a lot. He does know much about food and it was a delight to read about different dishes, delicious food and amazing scents, tastes and memories. I enjoyed reading this book so much. I love gourmet food and have visited many French restaurants, so for me it was a trip down memory lane as well as a great and original story to read. It's weird that a book about a man who is dying can be fun, but as Pierre has lead such a rich and luxurious life it also felt a bit like a celebration of his profession and of great taste.
If you love food, France and a good story, then this is definitely the book for you. I love Muriel Barbery's writing style, Her stories are filled with life and with truths. The Gourmet is in many ways very different from The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It's shorter, less elaborate and it's easier to read. It has the same elegant sentences, flair and comparison of extremes though, which are such great strengths. I'm a big fan of this author and highly recommend her stories.