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Chocolat Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140282033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140282030
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Vianne Rocher and her 6-year-old daughter, Anouk, arrive in the small village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes--"a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bourdeaux"--in February, during the carnival. Three days later, Vianne opens a luxuriant chocolate shop crammed with the most tempting of confections and offering a mouth-watering variety of hot chocolate drinks. It's Lent, the shop is opposite the church and open on Sundays, and Francis Reynaud, the austere parish priest, is livid.

One by one the locals succumb to Vianne's concoctions. Joanne Harris weaves their secrets and troubles, their loves and desires, into her third novel, with the lightest touch. There's sad, polite Guillame and his dying dog; thieving, beaten-up Joséphine Muscat; schoolchildren who declare it "hypercool" when Vianne says they can help eat the window display--a gingerbread house complete with witch. And there's Armande, still vigorous in her 80s, who can see Anouk's "imaginary" rabbit, Pantoufle, and recognizes Vianne for who she really is. However, certain villagers--including Armande's snobby daughter and Joséphine's violent husband--side with Reynaud. So when Vianne announces a Grand Festival of Chocolate commencing Easter Sunday, it's all-out war: war between church and chocolate, between good and evil, between love and dogma.

Reminiscent of Herman Hesse's short story "Augustus," Chocolat is an utterly delicious novel, coated in the gentlest of magic, which proves--indisputably and without preaching--that soft centers are best. --Lisa Gee, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The battle lines between church and chocolate are drawn by this British (and part French) author in her appealing debut about a bewitching confectioner who settles in a sleepy French village and arouses the appetites of the pleasure-starved parishioners. Young widow Vianne Roche's mouthwatering bonbons, steaming mugs of liqueur-laced cocoa and flaky cream-filled patisserie don't earn her a warm welcome from the stern prelate of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. In Francis Reynaud's zeal to enforce strict Lenten vows of self-denial, he regards his sybaritic neighbor with suspicion and disdain. Undaunted, Vianne garners support from the town's eccentrics, chiefly Armande Voizin, the oldest living resident, a self-professed sorceress who senses in Vianne a kindred spirit. A fun-loving band of river gypsies arrives, and a colorful pageant unfurls. The novel's diary form?counting down the days of Lent until Easter?is suspenseful, and Harris takes her time unreeling the skein of evil that will prove to be Reynaud's undoing. As a witch's daughter who inherited her mother's profound distrust of the clergy, Vianne never quite comes to life, but her child, Anouk, is an adorable sprite, a spunky six-year-old already wise to the ways of an often inhospitable world. Gourmand Harris's tale of sin and guilt embodies a fond familiarity with things French that will doubtless prove irresistible to many readers. Rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Canada, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Israel, Norway, Greece, the Czech Republic, Poland.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Joanne Harris is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Blackberry Wine and Chocolat, which was nominated for the Whitbread Award, one of Britain's most prestigious literary prizes. Half French and half British, Harris lives in England.

Customer Reviews

I saw the movie before I read the book and loved it.
Ali's grandma
You will like this book, too--just be sure you have plenty of chocolate on hand while reading!
"bunnygirl-12"
The characters were charming and sensual, and the story was rich with imagery.
MarW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I bought this book last month, Lent had just begun and I found it was the perfect time to read this lovely little book!
The story takes place between Ash Wednesday and Easter and delightfully portrays true kindness and charity by using the symbolism surrounding the sweetness and comfort of chocolate. The local priest and his "groupies" distrust the new young woman who has come to their sleepy town and opened the small, warm, inviting chocolate shop just acros from his church. Chocolate represents for them decadence and evil - where for the townsfolk, it opens their eyes to lifes' joy they have been missing. As Easter - and a Chocolate Festival - approach, the "penitent" feel they must stop the festival - but we find that the forty days of Lent have taught this little town the true meanings of Christianity. Wonderfully seen from two points of view - one accepting and open, the other skeptical and closed-minded, the books' characters blossom as they stop in at the little chocolate shop. It's a story of winter turning to spring, of distrust turning to trust, of good triumphing over evil - and of chocolate delights so well-described you can taste them!
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Dr W. Richards on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I don't think I've ever read a book quite like Chocolat before. The plot is fairly simple: Vianne Rocher, a wanderer with a young daughter, arrives in Lansquenet on Shrove Tuesday. Something about the village appeals to her, despite the looming presence of the Black Man, the local priest, and she decides to stay. Taking the lease on an old bakery directly across the road from the church, she opens a chocolaterie.
A chocolate shop. In *Lent*! Thus Vianne arouses the fury of Reynard, the priest, while at the same time gradually seducing many of the townspeople one by one with the delicious smell and taste of chocolate, and her uncanny ability to divine everyone's 'favourite'. Does Vianne have some sort of supernatural powers? Can she read minds? Harris never completely answers that question, but then the first-person narrative allows Vianne to reveal only as much as she wishes, and she herself rejects any suspicion of such abilities. And yet the Tarot cards are still ever-present, as are the strange dreams and visions.
Reynaud, the priest, whose own first-person narrative takes up about a quarter of the book, is another fascinating character. Overly self-righteous and determined to be in control of everything in the village, he takes immediate exception to *Mademoiselle* Rocher and her chocolaterie, and sees it as his mission to wean his flock away from her. But he has secrets as well, some of which are suspected by the old woman Armande (another fascinating character).
As Harris takes us inexorably towards Easter, it's clear that some sort of confrontation is coming between the old habits and the new, the dull darkness of conformity and the glad brightness of joy, and the priest and the chocolate-woman. But exactly what form does it take? You'll have to read for yourself.
Read more ›
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on February 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
What happens when an out-of-towner moves into an old-fashioned, quaint French village, opens up a chocolate shop across the street from a church during Lent, and charms most of the neighborhood with her delicious treats, easy-going manner, and her eerie talent for being able to read minds? Well, it ticks the priest off for one thing...
...which then begins an all-out war between church and chocolate, good and evil, saints and sinners. Father Francis Reynaud doesn't take much to outsiders coming into his community who do not believe in God, practice pagan rituals (most specifically Easter in the Easter bunny sense), and who tempt his parishioners with sinful chocolate at the beginning of Lent. Reynaud refers to the arrival of Vianne Rocher as a single dandelion spreading her seeds, and soon the whole town turns upside down with all sorts of goings-on.
Joanne Harris writes with a skillful, intelligent hand. Sometimes the sentences have to be read twice (what with the big words and all), but the text is pure poetry. This novel builds slowly and takes readers on a magical carpet ride. Definitely recommended to those who enjoy a sweet and sad story, a not regularly written about topic, and a writing style that's beautiful in it's symbolism, clarity and description.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Carolina on May 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the perfect fantasy for anyone who's not afraid to be different. Instantly drawn to this story, I found myself getting further and further into the plot while relating more and more with Vianne Rocher and her delightful daughter Anouk.
Filled with vivid depictions of a small-town attitude contradicting a world traveler's broadened horizons, one is instantly drawn to Vianne's witty, intelligent, exotic, and ecclectic personality. She is intuitive to the extent of being a witch, yet uses her supernatural gifts for the good of the town (whom for the most part wishes her away at once). Those villagers (whom I just want to hug!) who had the courage to befriend Vianne, find they are not dissappointed. On the contrary, they find a beautiful friendship which they all needed more than anything.
Not only does Vianne inspire in her friends and customers of the Chocolaterie a yearning to be different, she gives them the courage to indulge, enjoy life, live a little.
Although I expected a romance to develop in this story, it's not what one expects. However, that is by far not its importance. For that, one can go to Blockbuster and watch Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp's romance in the film.
A very moving story with an exotic mysticism that will leave you entranced...A must-read!
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