I downloaded onto my iPad as soon as I could after learning about the film & I finally got around to finishing it this past weekend. It was a quick read, enjoyable, yes. I generally favor nonfiction to fiction so I am not the best of critics. This may explain why I found the plot somewhat weak & implausible, but this of course is just me. I also thought it hard to tell just what genre the novel takes, weather comedy or drama. It is definitely a culinary tale so I guess you could call it a "culinary comedy/drama" as I saw one reviewer refer to it.
My real interest in reading the book was to see how it would translate into a film. It was by the author's own admission written with the idea of a film in mind. Richard Morais wrote his novel as an homage to his late friend Ismail Merchant, the noted film producer & partner in Merchant Ivory Productions. Morais had hoped that his novel would prove to be a joint venture, a tribute to their shared love of cooking & fine dinning. Sadly Merchant's untimely death would prevent that.
The novel delves into the the politics & cutthroat competitive nature of the Michelin star system. It is peppered with culinary tidbits from the tastes & smells of simple country fare to the richest of French haut cuisine. I would have to say that I found the colorful & spicy references to the exotic Indian culinary offerings more enticing than the descriptions of the over the top French indulgences. It will be interesting to see just how all of this talk of food will be recreated onto film.
I am really pretty intrigued to see just how this novel will eventually become a film, especially a film set in southwest France. The first thing that one notices in reading the book is that it is in fact set in the Alps on the boarder of Switzerland & France in the Jura region. St. Antonin is resting in a valley beneath high white cliffs but these cliffs are by no means mountains. So it looks like we will just have to wait & see. If the film makers wanted my opinion I would suggest that the action be reversed. I would begin the film where the novel ended & flash back to the beginning creating to my mind a more climactic
ending. But so far no one has asked me.