When the exotic stranger Vianne Rocher arrives in the old French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique called “La Celeste Praline” directly across the square from the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock. It is the beginning of Lent: the traditional season of self-denial. The priest says she’ll be out of business by Easter.
To make matters worse, Vianne does not go to church and has a penchant for superstition. Like her mother, she can read Tarot cards. But she begins to win over customers with her smiles, her intuition for everyone’s favourites, and her delightful confections. Her shop provides a place, too, for secrets to be whispered, grievances aired. She begins to shake up the rigid morality of the community. Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?
For the first time, here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as an agent of transformation. Rich, clever, and mischievous, reminiscent of a folk tale or fable, this is a triumphant read with a memorable character at its heart.
Says Harris: “You might see [Vianne] as an archetype or a mythical figure. I prefer to see her as the lone gunslinger who blows into the town, has a showdown with the man in the black hat, then moves on relentless. But on another level she is a perfectly real person with real insecurities and a very human desire for love and acceptance. Her qualities too - kindness, love, tolerance - are very human.” Vianne and her young daughter Anouk, come into town on Shrove Tuesday. “Carnivals make us uneasy,” says Harris, “because of what they represent: the residual memory of blood sacrifice (it is after all from the word "carne" that the term arises), of pagan celebration. And they represent a loss of inhibition; carnival time is a time at which almost anything is possible.”
The book became an international best-seller, and was optioned to film quickly. The Oscar-nominated movie, with its star-studded cast including Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, whose previous film The Cider House Rules (based on a John Irving novel) also looks at issues of community and moral standards, though in a less lighthearted vein.
The idea for the book came from a comment her husband made one day while he was immersed in a football game on TV. “It was a throwaway comment, designed to annoy and it did. It was along the lines of...Chocolate is to women what football is to men...” The idea stuck, and Harris began thinking that “people have these conflicting feelings about chocolate, and that a lot of people who have very little else in common relate to chocolate in more or less the same kind of way. It became a kind of challenge to see exactly how much of a story I could get which was uniquely centred around chocolate.”
Rich with metaphor and gorgeous writing...sit back and gorge yourself on Chocolat.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
I hear our M'sieur le Curé already has it in for you ... Does he know you're a witch?Lansquenet-sous-Tannes--"a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bourdeaux"--and new home to Vianne Rocher, her six-year-old daughter Anouk, and Anouk's "imaginary" rabbit, Pantoufle. They arrive "on the wind of the carnival", and, a couple of days later, Vianne opens a luxuriant chocolate shop. "La Céleste Praline" bubbles over with the most tempting of confections, topped with an irresistible selection of rich, smooth chocolate drinks. It's Lent, the shop is opposite the church (which Vianne and Anouk don't attend) it's open on Sundays and Francis Reynaud, the austere parish priest with the "measuring, feline look" is not exactly happy.
As one by one the villagers sidle into the shop to sample Vianne's concoctions, we learn of their characters and secrets, their loves and desires, their troubles and hopes. Sad, polite Guillame and his dying dog. Shoplifting, beaten Joséphine Muscat. And Armande Voizin, still vigorous and perceptive in her 80s, who can see Pantoufle, and recognises Vianne for who she really is.
But Reynaud has his power base. And when Vianne advertises a Grand Festival of Chocolate to start on Easter Sunday, it's all-out war. War between church and chocolate.
Read clearly and precisely by Samantha Bond--whose voice is almost choclatey enough for Vianne--and Gareth Armstrong -- who sounds marginally too rich for Reynaud--this is an elegant adaptation of an utterly delicious novel, the denouement of which brings a new, literal meaning to the phrase "a sticky end", and which proves, indisputably, that soft centres are best. --Lisa GeeReview:
"Harris writes with verve and charm. . . .If Colette and Hawthorne had collaborated, the result might have been this serious delight". -- The New Yorker
Accomplished and delectable Few readers will be able to resist. New York Times Book Review
Gourmand Harris s tale of sin and guilt embodies a fond familiarity with things French that will doubtless prove irresistible to many readers. Publishers Weekly(starred review)
as sweet, rich and utterly satisfying as a fine truffle. Dieters beware: Ms. Harris s lush prose drips with mouth-watering descriptions of cocoa confections that could melt even the most resolute of wills. Wall Street Journal
Vianne is a magnet for the town's misfits Vianne gives them chocolate, but also nudges their lives in the right direction Clearly, chocolate stands for human kindness and consolation. Jaunty, hopeful and endearing. The Guardian(UK)
You find yourself unable to stop until you ve finished feasting on this delightful, quirky, sensuous story. This is also a feelgood book of the first order so full of colour, tastes and scents, that as you are lured by the plot and the wonderful descriptions, your senses are left reeling. This novel is a celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance. Read it. The Observer
"Accomplished and delectable... Few readers will be able to resist."--New York Times Book Review
"Gourmand Harris's tale of sin and guilt embodies a fond familiarity with things French that will doubtless prove irresistible to many readers."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
..".as sweet, rich and utterly satisfying as a fine truffle. Dieters beware: Ms. Harris's lush prose drips with mouth-watering descriptions of cocoa confections that could melt even the most resolute of wills."--Wall Street Journal
"Vianne is a magnet for the town's misfits... Vianne gives them chocolate, but also nudges their lives in the right direction... Clearly, chocolate stands for human kindness and consolation. ... Jaunty, hopeful and endearing."--The Guardian (UK)
"You find yourself unable to stop until you've finished feasting on this delightful, quirky, sensuous story. This is also a feelgood book of the first order... so full of colour, tastes and scents, that as you are lured by the plot and the wonderful descriptions, your senses are left reeling. This novel is a celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance. Read it."--The Observer
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 014100018X Ships promptly from Texas. Bookseller Inventory # HGT6552LMGG032717H0054
Book Description Penguin Books, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Mti. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX014100018X
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 014100018X
Book Description Penguin Books, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11014100018X