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Golden Hour Books

The Cook: A Novel by Maylis de Kerangal

The Cook: A Novel by Maylis de Kerangal

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From the award-winning author of The Heart comes a dissection of the world of a young Parisian chef

More like a poetic biographical essay on a fictional person than a novel, The Cook is a coming-of-age journey centered on Mauro, a young self-taught cook. The story is told by an unnamed female narrator, Mauro's friend and disciple who we also suspect might be in love with him. Set not only in Paris but in Berlin, Thailand, Burma, and other far-flung places over the course of fifteen years, the book is hyperrealistic—to the point of feeling, at times, like a documentary. Maylis de Kerangal's intensely vivid and evocative prose conjures moods, sensations, and flavors, as well as the exhausting rigor and sometimes violent abuses of kitchen work.

We follow Mauro as he finds his path in life: baking cakes as a child; cooking for his friends as a teenager; a series of studies, jobs, and travels; a failed love affair; a successful business; a virtual nervous breakdown; and—at the end—a rediscovery of his hunger for cooking and his appetite for life.

MAYLIS DE KERANGAL is the author of award-winning French novel Réparer les vivants, which was published to wide acclaim in 2014. Its English translation, The Heart, was one of The Wall Street Journal's Ten Best Fiction Works of 2016 and won the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize. She lives in Paris, France. SAM TAYLOR has written for The Guardian, Financial Times, Vogue, and Esquire. His translations include HHhH by Laurent Binet and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker.
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