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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spice Of Life
What a delightful book! Richard C. Morais' tale
spans two continents and three generations of a
family of foodmakers from the poor streets of West
Bombay (seen through the eyes of Hassan Haji, a boy
with the finest gatronomic and culinary sensibilities)
who, following the sectarian murder of "Mummy" Haji,
translocates briefly to Southall as a...
Published on 21 July 2010 by The Wolf

versus
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and funny tale that doesn't quite go the distance
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book as our hero has a rather amusing way of describing events and his family - he being Hassan a Muslim in India when that was not the ideal thing to be. His family are ultimately ''encouraged'' to leave their successful restaurant business and originally land in England. Another failure ensues, so their father decides on a tour...
Published on 13 Aug 2011 by Elizabeth Taylor


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and funny tale that doesn't quite go the distance, 13 Aug 2011
By 
Elizabeth Taylor (France) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book as our hero has a rather amusing way of describing events and his family - he being Hassan a Muslim in India when that was not the ideal thing to be. His family are ultimately ''encouraged'' to leave their successful restaurant business and originally land in England. Another failure ensues, so their father decides on a tour around Europe sampling cuisine until their Mercedes dies and they setup camp in the Jura region of France - in a house just opposite a Michelin star restaurant. Their chaotic lifestyle, noise, color and cultural difference cause consternation to the locals in particular the rather stuffy middle aged snob who runs the restaurant. This part of the book works very well, its amusing, engaging and keeps the interest and even draws a few giggles. All the characters are believable if not like-able, human and flawed - I particularly like the bumbling father and our uptight French chef - her indignation at the foreigners and their food is well described and whitty.

The flaw in the book is that after all this fun the story itself does not keep the interest as our hero persues his culinary career, food rather than his emotional life take precedence. I found all the descriptions of food and the story that evolves in the later half of the book much less interesting, less coherent, and ultimately less enjoyable - and wished our author had finished his story 60 or so pages earlier. Having said that perhaps if you are a foodie maybe you will enjoy this part even more.

In summary, good in parts, very readable but a tale of two halves - a good holiday read especially for foodies but not a total success or consistent as an end to end story.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spice Of Life, 21 July 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What a delightful book! Richard C. Morais' tale
spans two continents and three generations of a
family of foodmakers from the poor streets of West
Bombay (seen through the eyes of Hassan Haji, a boy
with the finest gatronomic and culinary sensibilities)
who, following the sectarian murder of "Mummy" Haji,
translocates briefly to Southall as a stepping stone to
their final resting place in a small town in the Jura
mountains of eastern France.

The story is both funny, moving and uplifting in equal
measure. Mr Morais breathes life into all his characters.
Even the small parts are beautifully drawn. His sense of
place is also admirably acute. The description of Lumiere's
market and its fickle traders is particularly enjoyable.

At the heart of the story we find a conflict between two
worlds vividly concentrated in the relationship between
Madame Mallory, Michelin-starred chef-proprietress of
Le Saule Pleureur, a local shrine to haute-cuisine and
the Hajis' mission to bring the delights of Indian cuisine
and culture to Lumiere in the gloriously unrestrained form
of their own restaurant, 'Maison Mumbai'.

The battle culminates in tragedy but moves on through
reconciliation, forgiveness and eventual redemption.
A bright future beckons and Hassan is a worthy hero throughout.

'The Hundred Foot Journey' will be loved by food and book
lovers of all persuasions. The sights and smells Mr Morais
conjures into being had me salivating on more than one occasion!

A cracking read!

Highly Recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 26 Aug 2010
By 
Cath B - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Hassan - a boy from Mumbai, who discovers he has the equivalent of perfect pitch when it comes to food and cooking. The story documents his early, happy years in Mumbai, where his family run a restaurant business and the tragedies and adventures that lead him and his family through London, Lumiere and Paris on his journey to become a Michelin starred chef. The author clearly knows his food and what ensues is a touching story about triumph in adversity and about family, ambition and friendship.

A really good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bml, 12 Feb 2013
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This is a fascinating read. The story of a rags to riches story of an Indian family - and in particular the son who loves cooking - who were forced to leave Mumbai during the Partition troubles. They move to France and set up the first Indian restaurant in the area and the son begins his cooking career. The author's descriptions of people, scenery and food are enough to place you in the story with the family problems of being "foreigners" . The recipes alone make your mouth water! Hassan - the young chef ` learns French cuisine and finally moves to Paris, opens his own restaurant and gains his Michelin stars. The work ethic of the Indian family is well documented and, young Hassan really deserves to attain his dream. The writing flows beautifully and, certainly, I was very sad to lose the smell of cooking and finish the book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An uneventful journey, 26 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Hundred-Foot Journey (Paperback)
The Hundred Foot Journey reads like an autobiographical account of a young Indian chef's entry into the world of haute cuisine and his subsequent triumph in the field, the telling of which would be more impressive if it wasn't a work of fiction. The novel starts well describing young Hassan's turbulent life in Mumbai, through his brief time in London to the successful opening of his father's Indian restaurant in a remote French village but about half way through the novel the author seems to lose momentum and the remainder of the book felt superficial and uninteresting. I longed to know more about Hassan and the people in his life and was waiting for something deeper to happen.
The cover design is most attractive and the book is a light unaffecting read but I felt a bit let down and deflated by the end of the book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should have read it before seeing the film., 28 Oct 2014
By 
Partisan (West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I bought this, as I'm sure will lots of people, after having seen the recently released film. Be aware, though, that the film is a very "Hollywoodified" version of the book, which spends much more time on Hassan's time in Paris and less on his romantic relationship than does the film.
Overall, the book is satisfying on its own and is especially good at bringing out the conflicted thoughts he has about how his food and his ultimate success, reflect on his heritage. Well described characters surround Hassan, although difficult not to see the film characters. May have been better to read the book before seeing the film, I think.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first half is better than the latter parts, 22 Oct 2014
By 
Mrs. S. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had this book on my Kindle as I had seen the trailer for the upcoming film and I always like to read the book before the film. My husband is a keen foodie and was already reading the Hundred Foot Journey and said that I would like it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The story follows Hassan, and spans 2 continents and 3 generations, as he embarks on his culinary career. We start in India during Hassan’s childhood. We learn about his background, his family and where his passion for food and cooking first started. A family tragedy means that they all move to Southall in London for a short period before arriving at their final location in a small town in the Jura Mountains of eastern France. The story ends when Hassan in his 40’s.

I loved the first part of this book and was immediately drawn into the family. The descriptions of India, the smells, the food and the daily life are very strong and clear. The narration is easy to follow and Hassan is a very likeable character. As the story progressed, I felt that the authors focus shifted from the great narration of the story and emotional life to Hassan’s culinary career and this gave the book a sharper focus on the food. I, personally, lost interest a bit here as I am not really interested in actual recipes and ingredients, I was reading it for a good story. Saying that, I think that if you are a keen foodie and interested in learning more about the French cooking influences and history, then you will probably enjoy the latter part of the book too.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters, even if the constant talk of food made me hungry! It’s very well written, easy to follow, with great descriptions. I still want to watch the film; I just hope that there is more focus around Hassan’s earlier time in France.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two-thirds and a third!, 21 Oct 2014
I saw the film - enjoyed it, with reservations - and this made me download the book. And at first, I loved the book.

It told the story of an Indian family of restauranteurs who came to Europe to escape the violence which followed partition and set up an Indian restaurant with the outrageous name of 'Maison Mumbai' in the Jura region of France and opposite a well-established and very traditional 2 Michelin star French Restaurant. The subsequent clash of cultures provides a rich seam and a special delight is the mutual hate/grudging respect relationship which develops between Papa Haji (of Maison Mumbai) and Madame Mallory (La Saule Pleurer). All this is seen through the eyes of Papa Haji's son, Hassan, whose love of all things cooking gives him a foot in both camps.

The endless descriptions of food, food and more food which permeate the book should delight all gastronomes. Unfortunately I am not one but I could put up with it all, because the developing story, together with many examples of beautiful descriptive text, trumped everything. This, I thought is a 5 star novel.

But then, about two-thirds of the way through, that all came to an end. True, the food saga continued to the end, but the two principle characters disappeared (we are told in passing that they had both died). The rest of the book simply recounts Hassan's subsequent career - 'umpteen unmemorable new characters are introduced - a boring and tedious read which for me led nowhere.

So this was a book of two parts - marvellous beginning but a desultory end. Why an author who is so capable of writing so well, then throws the rest of the book away, is beyond my understanding. For me, a great disappointment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A charming novel, 12 Sep 2014
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Many contributors have given a synopsis of the novel (particularly brilliant one by The Wolf) and I shall refrain from being repetitive.

The novel is very well-researched, well-written and succeeds in engaging the attention of the reader. It is light-hearted and makes for a charming read. All the characters are portrayed vividly and the memory of each one lingers....

For me, the novel struck a chord at several levels: sectarianism and inhumanity, racism as a result of ignorance/mindset and overcoming prejudices, nurturing of relationships (family and friends), ambition and soul-searching at the price success demands, insight into haute cuisine (European) and the rise and demise of chefs as determined by Michelin grading and media hype.

The novel is set in several locations (India and Europe) and travelling across these with the Hajji family arouses 'wanderlust'. At the heart of the novel is the delightful culinary journey from the Mumbai street food stalls to the inexpensive food stalls in Camden (London), to Harrods' food halls, to the bistros and restaurants in Europe to the 3 star Michelin establishments in Paris.The culinary descriptions of each dish (toooo many to list) have the taste buds rioting as the smells and sights engulf one. Culinary expressions are not limited to dishes: 'the night was as black as a boudin noir'; 'the sea outside (Marseille at night) seemed pumped full of squid ink'; 'the sun was setting, like a mango sorbet dripping over the horizon'; 'her (Madame Mallory) eyes glistened like Spanish olives'; 'the early weeks of that trip through Europe were like the first taste of a creme brulee'.. Even art work mentioned has a culinary theme: Chardin's Grey Partridge, Gaugin's The Meal, the Last Supper.

The Hundred Foot Journey will not fail to please......
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading before the movie comes out!, 18 July 2010
By 
bomble "bomble" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Other reviewers have done a great job of summarising the plot of this book and (so far three five-star ratings) they seem to have been won over completely. I did like it a lot, but also feel that it falls well short of 5* (or trois-étoiles Michelin).

Morais quite openly declares in his acknowledgements that he'd love to see his tale transformed to the silver screen to honour his departed friend, Ismail Merchant (of The Merchant Ivory Collection [DVD] [1992] film fame). I'd say there's a good chance it will be... but that's not an unqualified compliment. There's so much familiar about the basic plot elements here; achievement against the odds... cultural stereotypes that turn out to be hiding the character's true colours... an ageing mentor whose protégé reaches heights they never quite managed themselves. These are the building blocks of the Hollywood drama, retold and reconstructed in every conceivable permutation but yet chronically lacking in basic originality. I'm sorry to say that I could almost see the checklist of plot elements that Morais seems to have used to ensure scriptwriter interest.

Just as I can enjoy a Billy Eliot, Bend it Like Beckham and other such films, so I found A Hundred Foot Journey to be a good read and happily munched through its pages of succulent foodie descriptions and anecdotes in the life of an up and coming chef. But in the end I couldn't help feeling unsated. The key to winning Michelin stars, asides from culinary flair, is attention to detail and commitment to quality at every level. It may be that my personal history (which includes some knowledge of Bombay, many years lived in France and some very fine meals along the way) got in the way of the `suspension of disbelief' required to really enjoy an escapist tale. For example, I'm not sure how many Muslim children attended the Jesuit St Xavier's college in Bombay but I can't imagine there were many.

It's a good read which is especially delightful for those who live to eat rather than vice versa. But in the end it just doesn't have the kind of emotional depth that makes a novel truly brilliant.
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The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (Paperback - 16 May 2011)
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