Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe

Chez Moi

Agnes Desarthe

A sensory feast spills from the pages of this tale of a woman on the run who opens a restaurant in her home in Paris. She hoards away the secrets and lies of her former life as she stumbles through the early stages of her new one, with a little help from some local misfits. At first there’s the sense that this could be fluffy chick-lit, but that quickly evaporates to reveal a serious and engrossing story of nonconformity and self discovery.

Extract

While I'm waiting for him to come back I make some shortbread biscuits which I will serve with figs in whisky and a vanilla zabaglione. I rub some shoulders of lamb with garlic and harissa, and put them in the oven, then blanch some celery and chard before glazing them with brown sugar. I cut some grapes in half. The word grape is so close to gape, the gaping hole in my reasoning. I look inside of the fruit, the smooth watery green flesh. A tear drops onto the stainless steel surface, followed by another, the grape is overflowing. The tide is rising again, I think to myself. Build a seawall, quick! my heart sings. A seawall between me and myself.

Parallels
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  • Voice Over by Celine Curiol

Books with similar mood

The Sky is Changing

Zoe Jenny

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

That They May Face The Rising Sun

John McGahern

Three of a Kind

Alison Norrington

The Amateur Marriage

Anne Tyler

A Ship Made of Paper

Scott Spencer

Sari and Sins

Nisha Minhas

Taking it to Heart

Marie Desplechin

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

Reshape Whilst Damp: Prize-winning Stories by Women

Carole Buchan

Gap Creek

Robert Morgan

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

Night Waking

Sarah Moss

The Spectacle Salesman's Family

Viola Roggenkamp

A Crying Shame

Renate Dorrestein

Inheritance

Livi Michael

The Birth House

Ami McKay

The Following Girls

Louise Lavene

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Matthew Kneale

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue

Behaving like adults

Anna Maxted

In Defence of Adultery

Julia Copus

The Beekeeper's Pupil

Sara George

Standing in the Rainbow

Fannie Flagg

Shot

Sarah Quigley

Startling Moon

Liu Hong

City of Light

Lauren Belfer

A Kind of Freedom

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

The Forrests

Emily Perkins

Treading Water

Claire Collison

Fifty Days

Sarah Quigley

Crow Lake

Mary Lawson

The Main Cages

Philip Marsden

The Story of Lucy Gault

William Trevor

The Drink and Dream Tea House

Justin Hall

Five Quarters of the Orange

Joanne Harris

The Love Parade

Matthew Branton

The Orange Blossom Special

Betsy Carter

Half Moon Lake

Una Brankin

Last Night on Earth

Kevin Maher

Breaking Away

Anna Gavalda

The Good Psychologist

Noam Shpancer

Twenty Thousand Saints

Fflur Dafydd

Sightseeing

Rattawut Lapcharoensap

The Island Walkers

John Bemrose

Give Us This Day

Jonathan Tulloch

Wide Blue Yonder

Jean Thompson

Frankie and Stankie

Barbara Trapido

For Matrimonial Purposes

Kavita Daswani