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North of Happy Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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"An exceptional tale of grief, ambition, love, and maturity." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Alsaid strongly evokes the frenzied atmosphere of a restaurant kitchen and the equally turbulent emotions of a young man struggling to sort his priorities. Carlos's frequent visions of Felix add extra dimension, shedding light on the brothers' history and underscoring Carlos's underlying grief." -Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After graduating, he packed up his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. Visit Adi online at www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.
Top customer reviews
Here is what I loved about NoH: the deep, clear and consistent portrayal of what it means to cope with grief, the reflective nature of the protagonist, the lovely characterization of the love interest, the hero journey-like character types (the mentor, the nemesis, the best friend), the realistic depiction of a restaurant kitchen, the very thoughtful and character driven plot, and the satisfying resolution that didn't simplify a life lived carrying loss.
Here's what I struggled with in the book: the slow pacing at times, some details that seemed a bit incorrect considering the setting (and that I live where the book is set), and connecting to the protagonist.
Even though this wasn't my favorite of his books, I'm still glad I read it. Adi is one of my favorite authors, and among a small group of whose work I will read no matter what. I can't wait to read his next novel.
I really liked Carlos and felt his loss and his loves. I had a hard time liking Chef and Emma. However, I am happy with the ending.
Carlos Portillo lives in Mexico and has a close relationship with his brother, Felix. One of the things the brothers bonded over was finding the perfect taco. Over the course of a night, they would visit restaurants to find the perfect taco. However, things go astray and it ends up in Felix's death. Felix is the one who told Carlos to live life to its fullest and to explore the world. Don't just settle for what's in front of you but to get up and run with what you have to take it to the next level.
Carlos follows Felix's words and travels to the United States to visit Provecho, a restaurant in Washington State that he's seen on TV prior him leaving Mexico. Felix is always with him giving him advice to follow his dreams. Carlos meets Emma who works at Provecho and she is his helping hand to introduce him to Provecho as well as Washington.
The family dynamics is quite interesting in this book. Carlos follows the steps of his brother to explore to world. His mother tries to get him to come back home. Both parents are upset Carlos decided to get up and leave. But of course when family health is involve, Carlos will relocate back to his family
I have been following Adi Alsaid's books since Let's Get Lost. By far North of Happy is my favorite novel written by Alsaid. With careful research about working on the line, he incorporated his love for food in the best way possible.
Each chapter is titled after a recipe and includes the ingredients to make the recipe. I found this to be a very unique way to title and to introduce each chapter. Because the book is heavy on Carlos working his way up the line, food has an importance in the novel. Each recipe is significant to the plot of each chapter. Each chapter is a recipe of life.
Reading North of Happy is like sampling the cuisine with Anthony Bourdain and Chef Ramsey. Maybe it might not be as intense but food is an essential to life. Food is the essence of what it means to be living and it's the substance that keeps us going. Many cultures bond over food during many events and gatherings. It fuels us. As Felix mentions, "You will feel full to your soul." "A taco that makes you hungry for life and that makes you feel like you have never been more alive. Nothing short of that will do."
North of Happy will satisfy readers who love food, traveling and new beginnings. I can guarantee you that your mouth will be watering after reading this novel and your taste buds will be wanting to savor every chapter.
Most recent customer reviews
I skipped a lot, but finished it (which I generally do not do with books that don't keep my...Read more
North of Happy was a touching story that I really enjoyed reading.Read more
When I first started North of Happy my immediate thoughts were "fresh and fun, relaxed, refined and refreshing" I really enjoyed the blend...Read more