Monday, April 21, 2014

Chop Chop: A Novel

Title:  Chop Chop:  A Novel
Author:  Simon Wroe
Publication Information:  The Penguin Press HC. 2014. 288 pages.
ISBN:  1594205795 / 978-1594205798

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "Reading was not an escape, you understand. I did not dream of fantastical worlds or get misty-eyed with wild possibilities. It was an embroidering, an embossing, an overlaying of the life already there. A lesson. Books taught me how to feel. They gave me words and showed me company ... Alas, books have never taught me how to be among people."

The narrator, nicknamed Monocle by his co-workers, has left home and relocated to London after completing his studies in literature. He seeks entrée into the literary world and hopes to make his mark.

A few months into this endeavor, he finds himself living in a seedy part of town looking to make ends meet. His literary degree is not bringing the success he envisioned. To support himself, he takes a job in The Swan restaurant - a restaurant whose name is perhaps the best thing about it.

He is the lowest man in the hierarchy of the kitchen. His job is essentially to assist anyone in the kitchen. This may mean anything from chopping vegetables to washing dishes. Surrounding him are a group of eccentric characters like Bob, the mean head chef; Racist Dave whose nickname describes his inclinations; Ramilov, a talented but argumentative chef; and Dibden, the pastry chef.

The book begins with descriptions of the chaotic, hectic life in a restaurant kitchen. It moves into revelations about the narrator's past, his childhood and his relationship with his family. Then enters the mysterious Fat Man. The story goes beyond life in a restaurant kitchen to a more complicated, darker tale. This is not a light read like other books that have taken on the arena of a professional kitchen.

The story and the humor of this book are just not for me. The writing, however, is colorful and very visual. I would like to read more by the author.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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