• Garlic and Sapphires

  • The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
  • By: Ruth Reichl
  • Narrated by: Ruth Reichl
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged
  • Release date: 04-11-05
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 4.0 (75 ratings)

Regular price: $19.93

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Publisher's Summary

Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's riotous account of the many disguises she employs to dine anonymously. There is her stint as Molly Hollis, a frumpy blond with manicured nails and an off-beige Armani suit that Ruth takes on when reviewing Le Cirque. The result: her famous double review of the restaurant: first she ate there as Molly; and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, New York Times food critic.What is even more remarkable about Reichl's spy games is that as she takes on these various disguises, she finds herself changed not just superficially, but in character as well. She gives a remarkable account of how one's outer appearance can very much influence one's inner character, expectations, and appetites.As she writes, "Every restaurant is a theater...even the modest restaurants offer the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while." Garlic and Sapphires is a reflection on personal identity and role playing in the decadent, epicurean theaters of the restaurant world.
©2005 Ruth Reichl; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews



2005 Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir
"[A] vivacious, fascinating memoir." (Publishers Weekly)
"Garlic and Sapphires pulls back the curtain on Reichl's six-year tenure at The Times, and it's never less than fascinating." (The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By ciniminis on 07-11-06

Way too abridged!

This is a good book. I picked the abridged over the unabridged this time, because the abridged version is read by the author. But so much is missing! In the book, chapters of narratives end in Ruth's newspaper column, which serves as a conclusion for each story. Those are cut out (so the stories are left to dangle, without the readers knowing how her article turned out). The entire "umani" sushi experience is gone, as well as other great segments.


Stay with the unabridged! I am very sorry that I didn't.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Samantha on 04-15-05

Fabulous. . . can't wait for the whole thing!

Well written, humourous and sharply witty. Well worth the gamble.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Therese on 03-29-10

If you love food, you'll love this!

This is a fantastic insight into the wonderful world of food journalism, restaurants and class wars. As a budding food writer who is obsessed with cooking it, eating it, dining out, reading about it...I'm always on the look out for a new novel about food. I also love memoirs and factual books so this is a marriage made in heaven. I would love to be a restaurant reviewer myself so this book lets you know the positives and the many negatives that come along with the gig! The only quibble I have is with the author narrating the audio book. She had a very annoying habit of giving all the other female characters in the novel the exact same droning laboured deep voice to depict age. I know it's part of the narrator's job to do the voices but I think a different narrator would've helped move this story along with more of a flow. But in all a "sapphire" of a read.

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