- File Size: 870 KB
- Print Length: 353 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: April 12, 2010
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003H05Y24
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,694,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Confessions of a Gourmand, or How to Cook a Dragon Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The frame of this book is great, almost a stream of conscious from an exciting character (one devoted to the gastronomic arts.)It gives you a sense of where he is now, then begins to start an odd sort of autobiography. The world itself is excellent, and explained in a thousand small comments that flow very smoothly in the narrative. It's extremely immerssive and unique in my experience.
I highly recommend the reading this fun, exciting and suprising.
However, the author more than makes up for this sloppiness with world-class novelist's incorporation of philosophical wisdom in the text.
"Life is a mess of raw ingredients. Sometimes if you're fortunate you are able to transform it into something palatable, even delicious; other times [...] like a soup with too much salt, you wonder how such a promising batch of ingredients could produce such a toxic result."
The narrator might have been talking about himself (or his author) when he says "Never trust a food critic who speaks in absolutes, for how indeed do they know enough about cuisine to pronounce something the very worst or the very best?"
All in all a good read. If for nothing else, read it for the two big scenes where the present narrative and flashback intertwine, linked by (what else) a similar flavor or recipe!
Now about those first 17 years...they're pretty awesome. In the tradition of epic tales everywhere, Vin manages to heroically be in the right place at the right time (It's actually often the wrong place at the wrong time, but who's counting?) to make friends and influence people. By age six, he's garnering the attention of kings, by mid-adolescence he's wooing queens and rescuing the huddled masses and by 17 he's changing local history and striking out on his own. Cool.
By 17 I'd paired combat boots with my minidress and silently dared my father to oppose my free expression of prescribed fashion anarchy. So, I'm duly impressed with Vin's accomplishments. There were some definite, 'well wasn't that convenient' moments, but they were generally overshadowed by my basic enjoyment of the tale and Vin's voice.
The story is marinated...no, narrated in a marvellously conversational tone, by an eminently likeable main character. Vin's willingness to admit to his own faults makes him hard to resist and Bruno's ability to somehow thread Vin's narrative with subtle emotional shifts made it feel real, despite it' fantasy setting.
The book does drag in the middle. Counterintuitively, this is when Vin ages past his culture's version of childhood, leaves home for the first time, travels, discovers women, etc. You would think this would be where the book picks up.Read more ›
Protagonist Van d'Allamitri is a master chef and offers readers any number of recipes in a parody of the "food" books so popular at the moment.
But the book is also an allegory of our own world of petty hatreds, racism, xenophobia, and in some cases, kindness.
Van's mother is from Shan li. She married a Varonian and was therefore shunned by her family. But, by the time Van is born his father has disappeared, leaving him in the care of his restauranteur mother and Tanger, a Cyclops who is her assistant. In Shan li both Varonians and Cyclopeans are looked down on as are all "foreigners." But the Varonians, the dominant political force, are in power and are trying, among other things, to force their bad taste in cuisine on Shan li, a place known for its gastronomical eloquence. Van's mother tries to fight back. Van, by now a teenager whose mastery of the kitchen is already known far and wide, agrees to accompany Tanger on a procurement trip ... picking up spices for the restaurant on local markets. The trip is a watershed in Van's life, teaching him many lessons that the reader might also profit from, and enabling him to find the keys to winning the game of political intrigue.
The narrative style reminds me of the narrator in Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose," though Van an active participant and not an observer.
The book is wonderful!!!!!!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a lifelong foodie AND a fan of fantasy literature, this book has a special place in my heart. I have never loved more (or hungered so deeply for) a fictional world, and its... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sotto
A very novel take on Fantasy literature. Author's writing is top class and really makes reading this book a pleasure.Published 14 months ago by Archie
A very great tale. I got caught up in Van's life story, this is funny and well written novel about a boy's life born to cook and taste the world.Published 23 months ago by No name needed
One thing is for sure when you read this book, you are hardly going to find yourself bored. The characters are notable and I find myself wondering to all of their back stories. Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is a compelling and world spanning adventure, it is told from the sidelines of that world by a person that meets the shakers and movers but isn't one himself. Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by MMaranda
Witty coming of age tale set in a fantasy world with recognizable cultures. I did not expect this book to be so witty and heartwarming. Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by S.Lynne Church
L/C Ratio: 40/60
(This means I estimate the author devoted 40% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 60% of his effort to creating a... Read more