Monday, April 20, 2009

Chez Moi, Agnes Desarthe

Posted by lea at 11:16 AM
Chez Moi is a lovely and touching story of a Parisian woman named Myriam, who has a past she'd rather forget and no sense of future direction. With nothing to lose, she sets up a restaurant with no signs, no set prices and generally no idea of how to run a business. Somehow, with the help of an almost chimerical waiter, the halitosis-ridden florist next door and a regular set of customers, Myriam's life moves towards a wholeness she never expected to feel.

Throughout the book there are tantalising descriptions of the food she prepares, and we are afforded glimpses of her past life, and a deep sense of guilt for the wrongs she feels she has perpetrated. Sometimes the book becomes a little too ego-centric, too much inside herself for comfort, which creates a slow and steady pace for most of the book. Towards the end however, new elements invade the plot (although they're previously foreshadowed) and the flurry of activity brings a welcome resolution to Myriam's tale, which we sense is not yet over, even as the last page is closed. Overall, Chez Moi is a beautiful and moving story by French author Agnes Desarthe.

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