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Gourmet Rhapsody

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  5,794 Ratings  ·  904 Reviews
In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Pierre Athens, the greatest food critic in the world, is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years, passing judgment on their creations, deciding their fates with a stroke of his pen, destroying and b ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Europa Editions (first published 2000)
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Food-Related Fiction
70th out of 428 books — 520 voters
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25th out of 199 books — 146 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 28, 2010 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it did not like it
Shelves: novellas
I loved Elegance of the Hedgehog, primarily because Barbery created two characters who, although deeply flawed and often annoying, were so obviously vulnerable and sad that one (I) couldn't help but feel deeply for them. That story unfolded as carefully and precisely as an origami swan, revealing deeper nuance of character with each alternating chapter, bringing two very isolated and lonely characters together (through plot, character and symbolically). It also took broad and very funny swipes a ...more
Cristina Boncea
Mar 19, 2016 Cristina Boncea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O carte dulce, așa cum scrie și pe copertă, deși tema ei nu insuflă deloc acest sentiment. Protagonistul este un critic culinar aflat în pragul morții care se chinuie pe parcursul romanului să își aducă aminte de o anumită aromă, ultimul lucru pe care și-ar dori să-l mănânce înainte să moară. Avem astfel ocazia să aflăm diferite scene din copilăria acestuia și câte ceva din viața sa de critic, despre care nu aflăm mare lucru. Pot spune că mi-ar fi plăcut să fie puțin mai complexă cartea, mai lun ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
I know this is my pre-teen, Nancy-Drew-loving self that is saying this, but I will say it anyway: I hope Muriel Barbery writes a book about EVERY SINGLE PERSON at 17 Rue de Grenelle. I loved _The Elegance of the Hedgehog_, and was enchanted to find this new novel by Barbery. This one which concerns Pierre Arthens, who makes one supremely unpleasant visit to the heroine of _Hedgehog_ before dying and leaving his flat vacant. Let me say upfront: He is unpleasant in this one too. But this time we s ...more
Keşke bu kitabı da Işık Ergüden çevirseymiş. Çevirmen cümlelerin içinde kaybolmuş sanki. Okunmuyor. Yoruyor.

Fransızca biliyorsanız ya da Fransızca cümle yapılarına aşinaysanız sorunun nereden kaynaklandığını çok net bir biçimde görebilirsiniz. Sözcükler Türkçe ama cümleler Fransızca gibi. İlk fırsatta orijinalini edinip tekrar okuyacağım, puanlamayı da o zamana bırakıyorum.
Dec 17, 2009 Lesley rated it it was ok
If you loved _The Elegance of the Hedgehog_, you may be able to tolerate this. If, however you found yourself skipping major sections of the pretentious, florid prose and navel-gazing, you won't find this much an improvement. Originally published in 2000, but re-released after the success of _Hedgehog_, _Gourmet Rhapsody_ focuses on another resident of the swanky rue de Grenelle apartment house, Pierre Arthens, the illustrious, arrogant food critic. Dying of heart disease, Arthens tortures his m ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
Where I got the book: from The Book Depository.

After my tear-soaked, ecstatic reaction to The Elegance of the Hedgehog , I was eager to read Une Gourmandise (I had it in its original French) or Gourmet Rhapsody if you're reading the translation. It's Barbery's first novel (Elegance is the second and last to date, the first to be published) and deals with the same apartment building in Paris. This time it's about the penthouse tenant, the food critic Pierre Arthens, who is dying and searching th
Jinny Chung
Feb 26, 2010 Jinny Chung rated it really liked it
"How ironic! After decades of grub, deluges of wine and alcohol of every sort, after a life spent in butter, cream, rich sauces, and oil in constant, knowingly orchestrated and meticulously cajoled excess, my trustiest right-hand men, Sir Liver and his associate Stomach, are doing marvelously well and it is my heart that is giving out. I am dying of cardiac insufficiency. What a bitter pill to swallow."

As soon as I read those words (which can be found on page two), I was hooked. Barbery, you la
Cameron Brown
Oct 10, 2015 Cameron Brown rated it liked it
Gourmet Rhapsody is a series of vignettes centering around revered, revolutionary food critic Pierre Arthens, on his deathbed, searching his memory for a singular, life-defining flavor. Alternating with Arthens' memories are the musings of a host of other entities, including family, friends (as much as he can be said to have any), his pet cat, and even a sculpture sitting in his apartment, on their relationship with this incredibly polarizing man. The critic is in turns crucified and admired, an ...more
Elevate Difference
Feb 26, 2010 Elevate Difference rated it it was amazing
Food has become a very controversial subject, many arguing that education levels, income, and race unfairly dictate the availability of fresh foods and vegetables in low-income American neighborhoods. Though Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog) does not focus specifically on these issues in her recent novel Gourmet Rhapsody, the division between the working class and the wealthy as it pertains to food and quality of life is often glaringly apparent in the story.

The premise of the novel
After the joy, wonder and affirmation of life that I found in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Gourmet Rhapsody was a disappointment. There is no plot here, no real story, just a collection of rhapsodic culinary memories by a food critic who lay dying in the his Parisian apartment building. There is also commentary by his family, neighbors and Rick, the cat. Pierre Arthens, this critic of enormous appetite and reputation, is feared and loathed by most (except Rick); he is a cold and distant father, ...more
J Omar Vidrio
Jan 25, 2014 J Omar Vidrio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro exquisito. La forma en que Muriel Barbery nos describe los platillos, y el deleite que Pierre Arthens siente, nos hace agua la boca provocando que queramos un bocado.
Es maravillosa la filosofía que rodea a la comida en este libro. Con un sutil e irónico pero muy fino humor. Si te ha gustado La elegancia del erizo, ademas de ser admirador de la cultura japonesa y de la gastronomía, esté libro es IDEAL para ti.
Aug 16, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Do you know how hard it is to write an engaging book of a life, based on taste? Yet, Muriel Barbery does it extremely well in this short, tasty morsel of a book.

This one expands on the life of the despicable food critic Monsieur Arthens who makes a brief but interesting entrance and exit in The Elegance of the Hedgehog. In this book, it is Arthens last 48 hours on Earth and through his voice and the voices of his family, friends, coworkers, and pets the reader gets his whole life described in va
Monica Carter
Sep 04, 2009 Monica Carter rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Foodies
I am the greatest food critic in the world. It is I who has taken this minor art and raised it to a rank of utmost prestige. Everyone knows my name, from Paris to Rio, Moscow to Brazaville, Saigon o Melbourne and Acapulco. I have made, and unmade, reputations, and at sumptuous banquets I have been the knowing and merciless maitre d'oeuvre, expediting to the four corners of the globe the salt or honey of my pen, to newspapers and broadcasts and various forums, where I have been repeatedly invite
ţi lasă gura apă citind această Gourmandise, o carte despre tot ceea ce înconjoară, însoţeşte şi creează gustul: despre lumina, sunetele, conversaţiile din jurul meselor, despre mirosuri, texturi şi savoare, despre memorie, dar şi despre artizanii mâncărurilor şi personalitatea lor.

Am dat peste cartea asta scormonind prin Saint George’s, una dintre frumoasele librării de limbă engleză din Berlin şi când am văzut că e scrisă de Muriel Barbery, autoarea unui simpatic bestseller tradus şi la noi –
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jun 04, 2011 Elizabeth (Alaska) rated it liked it
This is just about as close to 4 stars as you can get without crossing the line. If you enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog, you will likely enjoy this one too, but it really isn't nearly as good, so don't expect it to be.

Barbery uses a phrase in Gourmet Rhapsody that I think perfectly describes her style: a symphony of language. This is her debut novel, however, and I think we can easily see the orchestra is just practicing. She has a marvelous turn of phrase, and her insight is still good, b
Aug 12, 2012 Leajk rated it it was ok
I was really hoping for the supporting characters of this book to become important or involved in some kind of twist, in some kind of big revelation.

As the blurb will tell you this is a book about a famous and powerful, but cold-hearted food critic dying. Meanwhile he is trying to remember one last vital taste that will tell him who he is before he dies. Every other chapter is him reminiscing about the food that he’s eaten throughout his life, often rustic food not served in gourmet restaurants
Apr 07, 2016 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent dose of French existentialism and 'what is the point of it all?, this time bracketed by food and, the usual suspect, the spectre of death. The food stuff was the least interesting part of the book for me - probably because I don't care that much about food (as evidenced by the fact that the chapters on bread and toast appealed the most to me). Definitely one to read again someday. Can never get enough existential rage.
Feb 02, 2010 Vickie rated it it was ok
I hoped for better, having just read Elegance of the Hedgehog. I was charmed by a few of the vignettes of foods, but I can't say the personal reflections inbetween did anything but drive the story to a new understanding of the critic's personality clashing or complementing each food.

As for the final taste... it is possible, having never eaten the food, I am really missing something here, but I was unimpressed with the resolution - and not just as a food, but as a cathartic device. I had a moment
Nov 01, 2009 Vicky rated it really liked it
I loved "The elegance of Hedgehog"; I even read somewhere that the book had been prescribed for some patients of psychoanalysis instead of medication. I can not compare the two books ("Rhapsody" was the first one published by Barbery), they are completely different. This book is a poem, a song dedicated to food. It is a hymn of odaration for the delights and pleasures of eating. The story makes you dismiss any concept of diets and enjoy the butter, cream and rich cakes, to crave fresh bread and ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Suze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 e
Anne Lydolf
Apr 11, 2016 Anne Lydolf rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utterly disappointing and pretentious. There is no real story in this book, just the life of a glorified arsehole that treats everyone around him like shit, and yet everyone around him worships him like he is some all-loving god with infinite wisdom. Even the wife who he has ignored and cheated on for 20 years.
The author even throws in a chapter from his cat's point of view, but where the cat's way of thinking is exactly the same as a human being. I find that so overdone and unimaginative. If yo
Aug 19, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beloved, 2009
Yet again, Barbery has broken my heart with an amazingly sweet, simple story about people being people... in particular, food critic Pierre Arthens whose life has been lived describing and critiquing the so called 'finer things in life,' and has forgotten the simple joys of youth and true pleasure. I love that his family and acquaintances spend the book complaining about this man's inability to connect to them, while he spends his narration connecting to mayonnaise and whiskey!
Mar 14, 2016 Owain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen some previous reviewers slate this book for not being quite the book that Hedgehog was. I think that's unfair. This book is good. It's good as a stand-alone but works quite nicely as a little prequel to Hedgehog. The prose is perhaps more sublime but possibly at the expense of the plot. The plot certainly offers less and I thought it was perhaps a little predictable. I would have been better pleased if the gourmet had never rediscovered his lost flavour. i also though Barbery missed a ...more
A secret of mine: I have difficulty reading menus. I can't make heads or tales of them. I can't focus. I would gladly have lived in the era of the man ordering for the lady. I am happy to it just about anything. Cookbooks are another thing. Those I like to read. Restaurant reviews, back to menus. Restaurant reviewer often end up in throes of ecstasy, their descriptions leave me wondering, is thus a meal or an especially frothy Botticelli he is describing. Gourmet Rhapsody is somewhat like that i ...more
Nadja A.
Jan 15, 2016 Nadja A. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Der Aufbau selbst fand ich gut gemacht, leider waren die kurzen Kapitel der Anderen viel interessanter als die Erinnerungen des unsymphatischen Meisterkritikers. Und ich befürchtete schon, dass diese Delikatesse grosse Lust auf alle genannten Leckereien mache, aber dieses hochgestochene Gelaber war so fern vom Genuss.
Really 2.5 stars. This is food description mixed with florid meaning of life philosophy, but there was never enough depth to the main character to make me feel for him or care for him. I liked the individual vignettes about specific food experiences (e.g., the first garden tomato of the season, the first taste of sushi). I liked the idea of hearing different perspectives on the life of a difficult man. But on the whole, the book never quite came into focus. I didn't walk away feeling like I'd go ...more
E.G. Jönsson
En roman för foodie-generationen. Kanske säger den också något om varför?

Muriel Barbery har nästan skrivit en briljant roman. Hon är mycket observant. Hennes idé är ingalunda oäven. Stilen är elegant. Ändå är det något i analysen som saknas för att höja det från en bra historia och feelgood-roman (trots att de något kantiga karaktärerna är mestadels, enligt egen utsago, olyckliga) till bestående litteratur.

Nu vill jag inte vara pedant. Allt behöver nödvändigtvis inte vara bestående. Jag kan reko
May 14, 2014 Jean rated it liked it
Conocí a Muriel Barbery por La Elegancia del Erizo, un libro posterior a este que está lleno de poesía y de finos racionamientos filosóficos.

En Rapsodia Gourmet Pierre Arthens, un cruel crítico de cocina reflexiona sobre los sabores de su vida desde su lecho de muerte. Si bien está escrito con el mismo tacto y precisión que ya conocía de la autora, no es un universo tan rico como el libro subsiguiente.

Sin embargo las descripciones sobre los sabores son encantadoras, lo acercan a uno a esos aro
Tara Carpenter
Feb 14, 2015 Tara Carpenter rated it liked it
I have been wanting to read this book for a few years, since I read Barbery's other, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I loved that one! But not everyone I recommended it to appreciated it like I did. And after reading this one I think I might understand.

This book is a collection of remembrances of and about one man - a great gourmand and foot critic, whose entire life has been focused on his craft rather than the people around him. And now he's about to die. About a third of the chapters are from t
Sep 03, 2011 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's always interesting to read a book where the main protagonist isn't especially likable. Gourmet Rhapsody is the slim story of a famous food critic in his last two days of life. Lying on his deathbed, he tries to recall the one particular flavor he wants to taste again before he's gone forever. The chapters alternate between his recollections of the various and best things he's tasted throughout his life and the observations of the people whose lives he's touched - from the maid to his wife a ...more
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La Stamberga dei ...: Estasi culinarie di Muriel Barbery 1 4 Sep 16, 2012 09:57AM  
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Muriel Barbery is a French novelist and professor of philosophy. Barbery entered the École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay-Saint-Cloud in 1990 and obtained her agrégation in philosophy in 1993. She then taught philosophy at the Université de Bourgogne, in a lycée, and at the Saint-Lô IUFM.

La timide et très discrète Muriel Barbery ne s’imaginait sans doute pas faire l’objet de l’engouement qu
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