From Publishers Weekly
Screenwriter Lopez ventures into fiction with her abysmal chronicle of a depressed journalist who learns to cook while attempting to find herself in Paris. After calling off her engagement and after her cousin Luna's suicide, Canela begins losing it, but comes out of her funk once she decides to use her honeymoon tickets to Paris. Upon hearing that she can extend her stay by attending culinary school, Canela signs up, and soon she's in the sack with her class translator, as well as a handful of strangers and chefs. Canela also reflects on her childhood as an illegal immigrant and her status as a woman and once-again foreigner. Mixed in are a number of clunky digs against the Bush administration. Lopez has a hard time making the elements fuse, and her narrative is choppy and amateurish, with scenes swinging from frantic kitchen action through dreamy philosophizing to graphic sex and back. Often mentioned are the famous expat writers who made their names in Paris, but this work is far below theirs. (Mar.)
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Lopez, acclaimed playwright and screenwriter known best for Real Women Have Curves (2002), offers readers a scintillating tour of Paris through the eyes of Canela, a Mexican-American journalist who has grown disillusioned with her home. After the suicide of her beloved cousin Luna, Canela breaks off her engagement with Armando, a handsome doctor, and decides to go on their honeymoon in Paris on her own. She meets up with her friend Rosemary there, and after a family tragedy sends Rosemary back to the United States, Canela decides to stay in Rosemary’s apartment and seek temporary French citizenship. She enrolls in the famous Le Coq Rouge cooking school to see if she can finally master the art of cooking while she tries to figure out where her future lies. While her culinary skills are being sharpened, Canela’s senses are awakened in other ways by class translator Henry, a Brit who offers to be her “erotic guide” through Paris. Lush and sensual, Lopez’s first novel is as rich as a meal at a four-star restaurant. --Kristine Huntley