Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe

Chez Moi

Chez Moi is a small restaurant on a quiet street in Paris and, for financial reasons, it is also Myriam’s home.

She doesn’t tell her friends and family that she is opening a restaurant. She has no sign, no menu, no set prices and no business sense, and yet her restaurant begins to take off.

The food, it seems, is irresistible. Certainly the descriptions of the food are!

Myriam is an engaging narrator, and her present tense narration gives her story a wonderful immediacy, and it is lovely to see her dream becoming real.

Then, as if by magic, Ben appears. He is a waiter with a remarkable array of talents – from cooking, to accountancy, to web design, and eager to make himself useful. But is he too good to be true?

Meanwhile Myriam is thinking about her past. She is not quite the woman alone that she seemed to be. She has a husband and a son, but they are estranged.

As the story progresses it becomes a little darker and, though it loses a little of its charm, it begins to offer much more food for thought.

You see, as her restaurant flourishes, Myriam begins to feel that she is losing control, and her past is closing in on her.

And then all of a sudden it is over – maybe with a resolution, but maybe with a new beginning.

The plot is simple, but the characters and the quality of the writing carry the day.

Chez Moi is an unusual mixture of magic and darkness, but somehow the recipe just works.

It isn’t unmissable, but if a mixture of fluff and darkness appeals it is an enjoyable read.

Translated by Adriana Hunter

10 responses

  1. This one is intriguing. I really enjoy food-related books, and I am definitely going to keep my eye out for this one. Loved your review.

  2. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: June 13, 2009 at Semicolon

  3. Pingback: Food equals Love, Parisian style: Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe « Bay State Reader's Advisory: Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian

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