Gourmet Rhapsody [With Earbuds]
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Gourmet Rhapsody [With Earbuds]

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3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  4,070 ratings  ·  718 reviews
In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the greatest food critic in the world is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Pierre Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years. But now, during these, his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperately searching fo...more
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Published December 1st 2009 by Playaway (first published 2000)
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Jennifer (aka EM)
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
Nancy
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
Jane
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 thr...more
Lesley
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
Jinny Chung
"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...more
Kate
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...more
Elevate Difference
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...more
Monica Carter
Sep 04, 2009 Monica Carter rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Julie
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
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...more
Leajk
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...more
annik
Собственно, места, где я открывала эту миллипи*дрическую по объему книжку, гораздо интереснее самой книжки >_<
Она о еде, размытая и напрягающая намеками на тему «только в конце вы узнаете, что за невъ*бическое блюдо хотел съесть этот критик». Сам главный герой, жаждущий вспомнить свое любимое блюдо на смертном одре, не вызывает ни симпатии, ни сострадания, он — жук, который никогда никого не любил. В книге есть отзывы его знакомых — собственно, большинство о нем довольно низкого мнения, с...more
Vickie
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...more
Vicky
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
Jean
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...more
Jan
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
Tinav
Barbery’s earlier book, Gourmet Rhapsody, became the second one printed in the U.S. after Elegance became such a success. Now this one did interest me, and during the recent holidays, I finally got around to reading it. I finished in one sitting.

A rich, influential, hated French food critic lies on his deathbed with some 48 hours left to him, casting his mind back through every food memory in search of an elusive flavor he feels he simply MUST taste again before he dies. From the food his grandm...more
Emily
While I didn't like this book as much as The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it was still enjoyable. Barbery actually wrote this short novel first, but it was published in the US after Hedgehog.

It chronicles the last days of a famous food critic's life as he searches for a familiar flavor that he needs to enjoy before he dies. Alternating chapters are from those who knew him, and I personally found these chapters to be more intriguing than those from the critic himself. If you're interested in food an...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Critics found Gourmet Rhapsody less enjoyable than Barbery's Hedgehog, which features a charming 12-year-old protagonist and an emotionally compelling story line. Arthens, who brings to mind the dour, condescending food critic Anton Ego in Pixar's animated gastro-flick Ratatouille, is far less appealing. Only Salon thought that the weaknesses of Hedgehog -- including its literary and philosophical pretensions -- were strengths in Gourmet Rhapsody. Despite the comparison, most critics thought Rha...more
Lolly LKH
While I didn't devour Gourmet Rhapsody as deeply as I did The Elegance of the Hedgehog, I still found it moving. It is true that it is full of food (the love of it, the search for that one taste that the unlovable food critic Pierre Arthen longs for on his deathbed) but Barbery's beauty is in the characters. Each character that speaks of Pierre and their hatred, fear or admiration of the man holds such conflicted emotions that Barbery writes of so well. Barbery's sentences always move me and mak...more
Amanda
As a food lover, Gourmet Rhapsody was a disappointment. Perhaps I set my expectations too high after reading the summary or perhaps the potential humor of the story was lost in a poor translation. My guess is that it is most likely the latter.
For starters the book often did not make much sense. It took me several chapters to sort out what was happening and who was talking. Sentences frequently made little sense due to words seemingly being thrown together randomly. Then there was the conclusion...more
Kasa Cotugno
A food critic on his deathbed searching for his gustatory Rosebud -- told in alternating chapters by him and those around him. Even from a figurine on his desk, from his cat. Also his cook, his long suffering wife. His alienated children and wise grandchild. The face he's chosen to present to each person combine into a person hardly recognizable from the introspective sensualist at their center. The book was written before Elegance of the Hedgehog featuring a character who has died in Hedgehog,...more
Carmen
Probably what most attracts me to Muriel Barbery's books is her beautiful use of language. I read her in French and I know that many people find her pompous but I enjoy a writer who spends time on her words. The world's best food critic is about to die and wants to remember a taste that haunts him...At one point he asks himself if the taste he craves to remember will not turn out to be something as horrible as Proust's Madeleine? Will he remember what it is? Will it live up to his expectations?
Laura
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!
J Omar Vidrio
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.
Elizabeth
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 building reputations on a whim. But now, during these his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperatel...more
Dan
I enjoyed this book, its descriptions of food and flavors, but I felt that it lacked real characters. Hedgehog had real characters, some likable, others not so much. In Gourmet Rhapsody there are outlines or hints of characters. There are strong expressions of emotion but they didn't seem to connect. I believe that this was Barbery's first novel and in it you can easily see her potential as a novelist.
Carrie
The characters are less relatable than those in the Elegance of the Hedgehog, and the narrative can be a little harder to follow because of the near constant switching of perspective, even to completely unknown characters, and once, to an inanimate object. That said, the language in this book is amazing. The descriptions of food are lavish, and I spent the entire 160 pages starving.
Bookaholic
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 –...more
MK Brunskill-Cowen
The perfect foodie book! Monsieur Pierre Artens, the food critic from Elegance of the Hedgehog, has been given 2 days to live and so embarks on a gastric search as he recounts the food - and people - that he's devoured in an attempt to find one last elusive flavor.
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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.
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La timide et très discrète Muriel Barbery ne s’imaginait sans doute pas faire l’objet de l’engouement qu...more
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