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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolat’

I’ve only gone and read a book!

Book 38 – Chocolat, by Joanne Harris. This book follows Vianne Rocher and Curé Francis Reynaud, as their lives interweave through Lent in a small village in France. Vianne is exotic, mysterious and beguiling and the chocolate shop she sets up soon becomes a beacon for changes in the village.

Reynaud is threatened and angered by her hold over the villagers and the way she has enabled change to develop in the community.

As Vianne’s warmth, openness and bohemian ways change the lives and views of the people around her, Reynaud realises he has to take more direct action to stop her and save the souls of his flock…

I hadn’t planned on reading anything this week but it felt like I was missing something and so I decided to pick up a new novel. I previously read the opening paragraph and put this down again, thinking it was going to be a bit overblown.

Happily I gave it a second shot because I really lost myself in Vianne’s world.

There are lots of interesting characters and some seriously dubious behaviour, but if this whole book had been nothing more than Vianne exploring the world through the judicious application of decorations it still would have been worth reading.

Vianne is one of those characters who infuse a book, where you can see her impact and power even when she’s silent. She makes things happen, she’s wild and magical, she’s as decadent and alluring as her products.

Reynaud’s viewpoint chapters, on the other hand, didn’t do much for me – they moved the story on, gave our heroine a force to fight against, but they weren’t nearly as much fun to read. I suppose if she is chocolate, he is vinegar. The two swapping narrator roles meant there was force and resistance in the narrative but the attraction for me as a reader was Vianne, and it was always a little bit underwhelming when she wasn’t leading the storytelling.

However it also showed that her slightly unreal view of the world was closer to the truth than Reynaud’s tale or his flock’s confessions.

As you can probably tell, it was the character that drew me in, her worldview, experiences and understanding shaping an entirely new set of people from their original material. The storyline as a whole had a lot going for it but it is Vianne who makes it work.

This is worth reading, particularly for ideas about character. Plus, it’s about chocolate and that’s never a bad thing!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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