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Chocolat [Paperback]

Joanne Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

4 Mar 1999

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial.

As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?

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Chocolat + The Lollipop Shoes (Chocolat 2) + Peaches for Monsieur le Curé (Chocolat 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; paperback / softback edition (4 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552998486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552998482
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanne Harris is the author of the Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp) and many other bestselling novels. Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse, and lives with her husband and daughter in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from the place she was born

Photography © Takazumi Uemura

Product Description

Amazon Review

Chocolat begins with Vianne Rocher and her six-year-old daughter Anouk arriving in the small village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes--"a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bordeaux"--during the carnival. Three days later, Vianne opens a luxuriant chocolate shop crammed with the most tempting of confections and offering a mouth-watering variety of hot chocolate drinks. It's Lent, the shop is opposite the church, it's open on Sundays and Francis Reynaud, the austere parish priest, is livid.

One by one the locals succumb to Vianne's concoctions. Harris weaves their secrets and troubles, their loves and desires, into this, her third novel, with the lightest touch. Sad, polite Guillame and his dying dog. Thieving, beaten-up Joséphine Muscat. Schoolchildren who declare it "hypercool" when Vianne says they can help eat the window display--a gingerbread house complete with witch. And Armande, still vigorous in her eighties, who can see Anouk's "imaginary" rabbit Pantoufle, and recognises Vianne for who she really is. However, certain villagers-- including Armande's snobby daughter and Joséphine's violent husband--side with Reynaud. So when Vianne announces a Grand Festival of Chocolate commencing Easter Sunday, it's all-out war. War between church and chocolate, between good and evil, between love and dogma.

Reminiscent of Herman Hesse's short story Augustus, Chocolat is an utterly delicious novel, coated in the gentlest of magics, which proves--indisputably and without preaching--that soft centres are best. --Lisa Gee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Mouthwatering ... a feelgood book of the first order ... your senses are left reeling. Read it" (Observer)

"Is this the best book ever written? Truly excellent ... Harris's achievement is not only in her story, in her insight and humour and the wonderful picture of small-town life in rural France, but also in her writing" (Literary Review)

"Sensuous and thought-provoking ... subtle and brilliant" (Daily Telegraph)

"A celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance" (Observer)

"An addictive read ... haunting, obsessive and just a little nutty, like a freshly made praline" (Elisabeth Luard, author of "Family Life")

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolat - The meaning of life? 8 Mar 2006
By Fi Fi
I didn't expect much from this book, my mother told me to read it as she loved it and so i thought i would give it a go - and how glad i am that I did! This book has so much hidden depth which is not apparently obvious from the title. I have never seen paganism and catholicism brought together so cleverly. A beautiful look at how religions work and are not so different. I found the book to be very touching and insightfull. The characters are a very well thought up blend of people and portrays a good spectrum of people from most walks of life, all cleverly tied together in a small village. Harris brought everyone of them to life beautifuly and each had a different yet stricking character and they all somehow seem very familiar and I found i could relate most of them to people I have encountered. All in all this is a wonderful feel good book I would recomend it to everyone as a clever look at religion and sociology! (I will appologise hear for my spelling which im sure is atrocious)!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delicious, indulgent read 7 Jan 2007
By J.E.T
In this novel Harris captures a certain magic that compels you to read on and discover the secrets within. Set in a small French village, Chocolat tells the tale of Vianne Rocher- a pagan, single mother who sets up a chocolate shop in a mainly god-fearing town on the eve of the Christian celebration of Lent. As the novel unfolds and the townsfolk one-by-one give in to the allure of Vianne's famous chocolates and drinks we hear their life stories and really get a clear image of their character and hidden selves. Showing the struggle between religion and ingulging your desires this is a truly captivating read.

The characters all seem to have a true-to-life element about them and are completely believable. The only dissapointing part of this book for me was the end which was a little too abrupt for my liking. It is well worth a read, but save it for when you have a large space of time free as it will completely enthrall you in all it's twists and turns.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book and a great movie 26 Aug 2001
I committed the ultimate sin, I saw the movie first!! I know you're probably gasping at how bad that is of me but I have to say the movie was briliant enough for me to go out and buy the book and I'm glad I did. The book has many differences to the movie and I can see where the moviemakers changed things around and why and I'm glad to say that it still works as otherwise I would never have bought the book. The book is amazing, I fell in love with the characters and even though I'd seen the movie first I was able to imagine something different to what I'd seen. The book is a rich vibrant book with a great story full of wonderful characters, buy it, read it, treasure it. I tell you that it's well worth reading it will fill you with a lot of joy and make you want to go out to France and just sit in a store just like the one in the book and drink hot chocolate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lose yourself in this 27 Oct 2007
By Net
Having seen the film first I started reading this mainly out of nostalgia as I love the film so much. The book has a very different (darker) feel to it but is still enormously enjoyable. JH is such a wonderfully evocative writer and is able to create such enchanting characters. I only wish the book ended on a more settled note rather than with the slightly unsatisfying `anything might happen' conclusion. However, I accept my view has probably been tainted by the Hollywood sweetened ending of the film. Wonderful story by a great writer; but be prepared for a marked difference to the film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff, very different feel to the film 25 Sep 2007
By rhinoa
Vivianne Rocher and her daughter Anock arrive in the French villiage Lansquenet (I like that it never really tells you quite where they are from) and are clearly marked as outsiders. They don't go to church and they open a chocolate chop opposite the church during Lent. Father Rayraud from the church takes this as open warfare and begins to undermine them and try to get them to leave the villiage.

A cast of excellent main and secondary characters, this novel really drew me in. The different chocolates made my mouth water and I loved the Pagan side to the novel that was missed out of the film (which I also enjoyed but for different reasons). I liked that you never quite knew where Vivianne was from origianlly and learning the shocking truth behind her upbringing was again something left out of the film. The war between them and "The Black Man" was done well and I liked that it wasn't specifically anti-christianity. The point was there are good and bad people, religion doesn't make you either neccessarily.

The ending was quite mixed. The new blessing to Vivianne's life was wonderful, but I was sad that the wind still called to them to move on again. It would be lovely if Harris wrote a sequel. To anyone who enjoyed the film, please read the book. It is very different whilst still retaining the charm of the film. I will dedinately be reading more from this author, although I have heard this is by far her best novel to date.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book falls outside most genres, and I am surprised it has been turned into a film. Not because it is a bad book, or even because it is non-genre (although that often confuses film makers) but because its strength is the use of language and description of people, moods and food. This is wonderful on the written page but never easily tranfers to film.
The beauty of the book is its timeless appraoch to people, religion, feelings, and the textures of life that are often not written about. The book covers a lot of ground, dealing with different types of people (each with their own voice) with their loves and interests and fears and jealousies. It has a bit of memories, but mainly it is based in the small village, and the richness of texture comes from the characters who populate it.
It is a book that could appeal to all, certainly anyone who has an interest in what people are like, and how small communities only need a minor event to change their outlook and (small) world-view
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolat
This was a book I just couldn't put down - read into the night. It is well written and interesting all the way through. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Elin K Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolat.
A wonderful book. A great story. An insight into small town minds and the lives of the characters therein. I will definitely read more by this author.
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Again, Fabulous
What more can I say about this author, except fabulous, if you are slightly into this kind of reading the you will enjoy
Published 20 days ago by june dawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolat for the soul
A feel good book with a twist. This book leaves you hungry for more. it is light and enjoyable, perfect for curling up on a rainy day with a cuppa hot chocolate.
Published 1 month ago by oceanswim
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely
This is a really cosy book, the sort you want to read on holliday. It's a bit of comfort reading. But it isn't without drama - you get very involved in each of the character's... Read more
Published 1 month ago by glubslime
5.0 out of 5 stars I love both the film and the book!
I thoroughly enjoy this book every time I read it, the detail, the wonderful way emotions and scenarios are described, the colour, the sense, the smell!
Published 2 months ago by Tigernymph
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolat by Joanne Harris
A lovely relaxing winter holiday read. Engaging characters and an evocative sense of place. I was given Peaches for Monsieur le Cure for Christmas and was inspired to go back and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura Beech
5.0 out of 5 stars Top ten books
Absolutely brilliant story, easy to follow, interesting descriptions and lines that I can relate to. The religious side to it well described and bravely put. I loved it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kirsty custard
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Its a delightful and amusing read which holds your attention throughout the book. You cannot guess what will happen next.
Published 3 months ago by Barbara Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
i have the dvd so i am familiar with the storyline. Of course it has two of my favourite actors one being johnny depp. Have recommended the book to friends and family.
Published 3 months ago by Angela Rothwell
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