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Chez Moi

by Agnes Desarthe

A sensory feast spills from the pages of this tale of a woman on the run who opens a restaurant in her home in Paris. She hoards away the secrets and lies of her former life as she stumbles through the early stages of her new one, with a little help from some local misfits. At first there’s the sense that this could be fluffy chick-lit, but that quickly evaporates to reveal a serious and engrossing story of nonconformity and self discovery.

Extract

While I'm waiting for him to come back I make some shortbread biscuits which I will serve with figs in whisky and a vanilla zabaglione. I rub some shoulders of lamb with garlic and harissa, and put them in the oven, then blanch some celery and chard before glazing them with brown sugar. I cut some grapes in half. The word grape is so close to gape, the gaping hole in my reasoning. I look inside of the fruit, the smooth watery green flesh. A tear drops onto the stainless steel surface, followed by another, the grape is overflowing. The tide is rising again, I think to myself. Build a seawall, quick! my heart sings. A seawall between me and myself.
Translated by Adriana Hunter

Parallels

Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Voice Over by Celine Curiol
 

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