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The writing of this book is beautiful. The style is almost poetic without being tedious. The descriptions of smells and facial expressions and room decor and cooking techniques are so specific yet so well done that it really takes you there. I can picture the table in the front of Haji's restaurant and the smells as he walks by street vendors.
This story is driven by food and cooking. If you are a fan of cooking and/or the cooking channel on tv, you'll love this book. Note that the first review of this book is by Anthony Bourdain, a famous tv "chef."
There is more to the story than just cooking, which is what makes the story very good. The characters are likable and multi-dimensional and well developed. I was very invested in what happened to Haji, and his mentors and his family.
When reading reviews for this book, it's some of the pieces that people rave about that make the story flawed for me. I also had to remind myself that this was not a true story, but that wasn't a positive for me. It felt like a true story during the last quarter of the book because not much happened. It felt like the author had to record facts that weren't actually interesting.
Also, occasionally, the food references went too far for me. There is one action scene where Haji's life is slightly in danger and he stops to describe the smell of the food that the homeless people are cooking while he's running for his life--that seemed odd to me,
I also wish that the author would have put more energy into the development of Haji's friend towards the end of the book. He becomes a big part of the end of the book and of Haji's life and there wasn't enough detail about him for me to care as much as I wanted to.
The narrator was great. He struggled sometimes with the voice and accent of the French lady in comparison to the French men and then leaping back to an East Indian accent, but he did an admirable job at it.
I recommend this book.
48 of 54 people found this review helpful
This was a super-good story that amazed me because it was "made up." It rang so true as a non-fiction tome that I tried to look up these chefs and their restaurants. I figure that's good writing if I believed it that completely.
Having said that, it is a very slow read, so don't expect wild action and dozens of twists and turns. It's just a good story and that's good enough for me sometimes.!!!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful