Not just a beautifully delineated character study or inside look at a hard way to make a living but a perceptive meditation on the meaning of work itself ... just over 100 pages and done brilliantly ... Highly recommended.
...beautifully translated ... By the end of The Cook, apart from his love of food, I knew little more about Mauro as a character than I did of the anonymous subjects of those pictures. But I did understand something else. Ms. de Kerangal is fascinated by the way man tries to put a stamp on the physical world. Each of the three books of hers I’ve read (she’s written nine) centers on a process, but they are less about the transformation of a character than the emotional transformation of the reader, who, by learning how things work, comes to better understand the world. The Cook achieves this admirably, though the meal ended too abruptly, and I was left hungry for more.
The perfect thing for those who get aroused reading bistro menus ... de Kerangal conjures the physicality of her subject through evocative language ... does not ignore the grueling, often violent world of professional kitchens. De Kerangal captures both the elegance and the grind ... It’s not a drawback that the book’s objectives are modest, its pace leisurely. Just as one waits for July to eat fresh tomatoes, this 'edible capsule' is perhaps best read not when it comes out next month, but in the dog days of summer—while lazing in a hammock or eating on the patio of some European café not yet inundated with tourists.