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In the Kitchen

by

In the Kitchen Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Monica Ali, nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has written a follow-up to Brick Lane that will further establish her as one of England's most compelling and original voices.

Gabriel Lightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern England mill town, making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, he is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off.

Until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a small death, a lonely death — but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.

Elsewhere, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and the restaurant manager appears to be running an illegal business under Gabe's nose.

Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows — and the future he thought he wanted.

Readers and reviewers have been stunned by the breadth of humanity in Monica Ali's fiction. She is compared to Dickens and called one of three British novelists who are "the voice of a generation" by Time magazine. In the Kitchen is utterly contemporary yet has all the drama and heartbreak of a great nineteenth-century novel. Ali is sheer pleasure to read, a truly magnificent writer.

Review:

"Signature Reviewed by Patricia VolkArestaurant kitchen is a functional substitute for hell. Flames leap, plates fly — knives and fingers, too. They're also the default place immigrants, legal and otherwise, find work. At London's Imperial Hotel, the setting for Monica Ali's In the Kitchen, nobody speaks the same language and everybody is underpaid. Ali, acclaimed author of Brick Lane, nails the killer heat, killer fights and lethal grease buildup, all of it supervised by a 'simmering culinary Heathcliff,' Gabriel Lightfoot, executive chef.Lightfoot dropped out of school at 16 to begin paying his kitchen dues, working crazy hours with crazy people while studying food chemistry and Brillat-Savarin. Along the way, he picked up scarred hands and a ravaged psyche. At 24, given his own restaurant, it went straight up his nose. Now, almost 20 years later, two wealthy Londoners have agreed to back Gabriel in a new restaurant, Lightfoot's, where he'll serve 'Classic French, precisely executed. Rognons de veau dijonnaise, poussin en cocotte Bonne Femme, tripes la mode de Caen.' In postmodern balsamic-drenched London, Gabriel is confident traditional French is poised for a comeback. Then the naked corpse of a Ukrainian night porter is discovered in the Imperial's basement, his head in a pool of blood. There is no one to claim the body. The ripple-free effect of a human death unhinges Gabriel. He develops a voluptuous need to self-sabotage. Visual manifestations include a Dr. Strangelove arm tic, shaking limbs and violent bald-spot scratching. Gabriel cheats on his fiance and lies to his lover. The story is told in the third person, but through Gabriel's point of view. Intimacy juggles distance: 'After a certain point, he could not stop himself. His desire was a foul creature that climbed on his back and wrapped its long arms around his neck.'Ali is brilliant at showing loss and adaptation in a polyglot culture. Her descriptions of the changing peoplescape are fresh. But inside Gabriel's head is not the most compelling place to be. A tragic nonhero, he thinks with his 'one-eyed implacable foe.' It does not help that a recurring dream crumbles him, and since Gabriel doesn't understand the dream, neither does the reader. It assumes an unsustainable importance. You can play Freud or you can turn the page.Ali is not plot-averse: she provides a mysterious death, a hotel sex-trade scam, a slave-labor scheme, missing money and a dying parent. Yet Lightfoot is a character in search of a motive. It's a tribute to Ali that we care. Here is a true bastard, ravaged and out of control. In the Kitchen has the thud and knock of life — inexplicable, impenetrable, not sewn up at all. As Gabriel's lover is fond of saying: 'Tchh.' (June) Patricia Volk is the author, most recently, of the memoir Stuffed and the novel To My Dearest Friends(both from Knopf). Two mass market series openers explore the bloody side of tattooing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

When Monica Ali burst onto the scene in 2003 with her brilliantly imagined, nimbly fashioned, powerfully rendered "Brick Lane," critics marveled that a raw first novelist could produce such a Dickensian display of literary skill and human wisdom. The novel — in which Nazneen, a teenage girl, travels from Bangladesh to London to seal an arranged marriage and wed a much older man — was shortlisted... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Booker Prize-shortlisted author Monica Ali's long-awaited second novel brings readers into the vivid world of a London restaurant kitchen.

Synopsis:

From the award-winning, critically acclaimed, and bestselling author of Brick Lane, her long-awaited second novel, a stunning story about a man in crisis.

Just as she did inBrick Lane, Monica Ali again brings read- ers into a rich and fascinating London subculture, this time the intoxicating world of chefs and kitchen denizen from every culture and class in London.

Surrounded by the fading glory of the Imperial Hotel, embattled Executive Chef Gabriel Lightfoot tries to maintain his culinary integrity in the hotel’s restaurant, while manag- ing an unruly but talented group of immigrant cooks. His goal is to please the management of the hotel, and to move on to ownership of his own place. But when the dead body of a Ukrainian porter is discovered in the restaurant cellar, the tenuous balance in Gabe’s life begins to shift. Adding to his stress, Gabe’s father is diagnosed with cancer, his girlfriend starts talking about a new level in their relationship, and the investors in his new business are monitoring his every move. Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman mysteriously tied to the death of the porter. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision the consequences of which irrevocably change the course of the life he knows—and the future he thought he wanted. 

Ali, named one of the twenty best young British writers by Granta, was nominated for the Booker and Los Angeles Times book prizes and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has written an absolutely extraordinary novel that will delight readers of Brick Lane and further establish her as one of Britain’s most talented and original voices.

About the Author

Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in England. She has been named by Granta as one of the twenty best young British novelists. Brick Lane won BarnesandNoble's Discover Award for New Writers and Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award. It was translated into thirty languages. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416571681
Author:
Ali, Monica
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Restaurants
Subject:
Hotels
Subject:
London (england)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

In the Kitchen Used Hardcover
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Product details 448 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781416571681 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Signature Reviewed by Patricia VolkArestaurant kitchen is a functional substitute for hell. Flames leap, plates fly — knives and fingers, too. They're also the default place immigrants, legal and otherwise, find work. At London's Imperial Hotel, the setting for Monica Ali's In the Kitchen, nobody speaks the same language and everybody is underpaid. Ali, acclaimed author of Brick Lane, nails the killer heat, killer fights and lethal grease buildup, all of it supervised by a 'simmering culinary Heathcliff,' Gabriel Lightfoot, executive chef.Lightfoot dropped out of school at 16 to begin paying his kitchen dues, working crazy hours with crazy people while studying food chemistry and Brillat-Savarin. Along the way, he picked up scarred hands and a ravaged psyche. At 24, given his own restaurant, it went straight up his nose. Now, almost 20 years later, two wealthy Londoners have agreed to back Gabriel in a new restaurant, Lightfoot's, where he'll serve 'Classic French, precisely executed. Rognons de veau dijonnaise, poussin en cocotte Bonne Femme, tripes la mode de Caen.' In postmodern balsamic-drenched London, Gabriel is confident traditional French is poised for a comeback. Then the naked corpse of a Ukrainian night porter is discovered in the Imperial's basement, his head in a pool of blood. There is no one to claim the body. The ripple-free effect of a human death unhinges Gabriel. He develops a voluptuous need to self-sabotage. Visual manifestations include a Dr. Strangelove arm tic, shaking limbs and violent bald-spot scratching. Gabriel cheats on his fiance and lies to his lover. The story is told in the third person, but through Gabriel's point of view. Intimacy juggles distance: 'After a certain point, he could not stop himself. His desire was a foul creature that climbed on his back and wrapped its long arms around his neck.'Ali is brilliant at showing loss and adaptation in a polyglot culture. Her descriptions of the changing peoplescape are fresh. But inside Gabriel's head is not the most compelling place to be. A tragic nonhero, he thinks with his 'one-eyed implacable foe.' It does not help that a recurring dream crumbles him, and since Gabriel doesn't understand the dream, neither does the reader. It assumes an unsustainable importance. You can play Freud or you can turn the page.Ali is not plot-averse: she provides a mysterious death, a hotel sex-trade scam, a slave-labor scheme, missing money and a dying parent. Yet Lightfoot is a character in search of a motive. It's a tribute to Ali that we care. Here is a true bastard, ravaged and out of control. In the Kitchen has the thud and knock of life — inexplicable, impenetrable, not sewn up at all. As Gabriel's lover is fond of saying: 'Tchh.' (June) Patricia Volk is the author, most recently, of the memoir Stuffed and the novel To My Dearest Friends(both from Knopf). Two mass market series openers explore the bloody side of tattooing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Booker Prize-shortlisted author Monica Ali's long-awaited second novel brings readers into the vivid world of a London restaurant kitchen.
"Synopsis" by , From the award-winning, critically acclaimed, and bestselling author of Brick Lane, her long-awaited second novel, a stunning story about a man in crisis.

Just as she did inBrick Lane, Monica Ali again brings read- ers into a rich and fascinating London subculture, this time the intoxicating world of chefs and kitchen denizen from every culture and class in London.

Surrounded by the fading glory of the Imperial Hotel, embattled Executive Chef Gabriel Lightfoot tries to maintain his culinary integrity in the hotel’s restaurant, while manag- ing an unruly but talented group of immigrant cooks. His goal is to please the management of the hotel, and to move on to ownership of his own place. But when the dead body of a Ukrainian porter is discovered in the restaurant cellar, the tenuous balance in Gabe’s life begins to shift. Adding to his stress, Gabe’s father is diagnosed with cancer, his girlfriend starts talking about a new level in their relationship, and the investors in his new business are monitoring his every move. Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman mysteriously tied to the death of the porter. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision the consequences of which irrevocably change the course of the life he knows—and the future he thought he wanted. 

Ali, named one of the twenty best young British writers by Granta, was nominated for the Booker and Los Angeles Times book prizes and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has written an absolutely extraordinary novel that will delight readers of Brick Lane and further establish her as one of Britain’s most talented and original voices.

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