September 2009 Indie Next List
“The perfect foodie book! Monsieur Pierre Arthens, the food critic from The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has been given two 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.”
— Mary Cowen, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
From the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog."
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 desperately searching for that singular flavor, that sublime something once sampled, never forgotten, "the Flavor" par excellence. Indeed, this flamboyant and self-absorbed man desires only one thing before he dies: one last taste.
Thus begins a charming voyage that traces the career of Monsieur Arthens from childhood to maturity across a celebration of all manner of culinary delights. Alternating with the voice of the supercilious Arthens is a chorus belonging to his acquaintances and familiars?relatives, lovers, a would-be protege, even a cat. Each will have his or her say about M. Arthens, a man who has inspired only extreme emotions in people. Here, as in "The Elegance of Hedgehog," Muriel Barbery's story celebrates life's simple pleasures and sublime moments while condemning the arrogance and vulgarity of power.
About the Author
MURIEL BARBERY is a French novelist and professor of philosophy. Her second novel "L' l gance du h risson" (translated into English as "The Elegance of the Hedgehog") topped the French best-seller lists for 30 consecutive weeks and is an international bestseller.
J. M. G. Le Clezio, one of France's best-known contemporary writers, was born in Nice in 1940 and has published more than twenty novels and nonfiction works. In the course of the last three decades Le Clezio has won numerous prizes, including the Prix Renaudot for his first novel. His works have been translated into many languages. His most recent works translated into English include the novel "The Prospector" and a collection of essays, "The Mexican Dream," Alison Anderson is the author of "Hidden Latitudes," She has worked as a writer, translator, and teacher and currently lives in Mill Valley, California.