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Chocolat

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Author: Joanne Harris

Published: November 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published March 4th 1999)

Format: Paperback , 306 pages

Isbn: 9780141000183

Language: English


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A timeless novel of a straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality - every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. Illuminating Peter Mayle's South of France with a touch of Laura Esquivel's magic realism, Chocolat is a timeless novel of a strai A timeless novel of a straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality - every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. Illuminating Peter Mayle's South of France with a touch of Laura Esquivel's magic realism, Chocolat is a timeless novel of a straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival. Chocolat's every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It's a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.

30 review for Chocolat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Groth

    There is a lot more going on in this novel than a simple "Catholics bad. Pagans good." theme that seems to offend readers so much that they miss everything else. Some subjects found in this story: letting go - of children as they grow up and of loved ones who die moving on - from bad relationships and harmful habits nature/nurture facing your fears loving friends/family/strangers for who they are the assumptions people make about each other the right to die heeding your own advice tolerance/eradicating t There is a lot more going on in this novel than a simple "Catholics bad. Pagans good." theme that seems to offend readers so much that they miss everything else. Some subjects found in this story: letting go - of children as they grow up and of loved ones who die moving on - from bad relationships and harmful habits nature/nurture facing your fears loving friends/family/strangers for who they are the assumptions people make about each other the right to die heeding your own advice tolerance/eradicating temptation classism feeling powerless wanting to control people "for their own good"/letting people make their own decisions even when you disagree Also, the priest in the book isn't so simple and evil as people want to believe. He suffers moments of doubt that his way is the best. I don't mean doubts about his faith/religion, but doubts about how he's decided to lead the members of his church and community. (Is religious tolerance really a slippery slope that they can't handle?) Furthermore, he struggles with the desire to be moral and create what he considers the best environment for the members of his church and his belief that he'll have to do something immoral to rid the city of the temptation he feels the members of his church are too weak to handle. Should he let them fall into sin, lose faith and suffer damnation, or sacrifice his own morality to save theirs? If this were such an easy decision for him, as it would be if he were simply evil, he would do something awful right away and we'd have a completely different novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Chocolat (Chocolat, #1), Joanne Harris Chocolat is a 1999 novel by Joanne Harris. It tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a young single mother, who arrives in the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes at the beginning of Lent with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. Vianne has arrived to open a chocolaterie—La Céleste Praline, which is on the square opposite the church. During the traditional season of fasting and self-denial; she gently changes the lives of the villagers who visit her with a comb Chocolat (Chocolat, #1), Joanne Harris Chocolat is a 1999 novel by Joanne Harris. It tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a young single mother, who arrives in the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes at the beginning of Lent with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. Vianne has arrived to open a chocolaterie—La Céleste Praline, which is on the square opposite the church. During the traditional season of fasting and self-denial; she gently changes the lives of the villagers who visit her with a combination of sympathy, subversion and a little magic. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیستم ماه سپتامبر سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: شکلات؛ نویسنده: جوآن (ژوان) هریس؛ مترجم: طاهره صدیقیان؛ تهران، کتابسرای تندیس، 1380، در 406 ص؛ شابک: 9645757207؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی سده 20 م عنوان: شکلات؛ نویسنده: جوآن (ژوان) هریس؛ مترجم: گیسو ناصری؛ تهران، واژگان، 1381، در 368 ص؛ شابک: 9646664016؛ چاپ دیگر در سال 1381 نشر گیلونه؛ نقل از متن کتاب شکلات: «کار اتاق زیر شیروانی، تقریبا تمام شده، بعضی جاهایش، گچ هنوز خشک نشده؛ اما پنجره ی جدید، مثل پنجره ی کشتی، گرد و دور برنجی، تکمیل شده‌ است. رُو فراتخته‌ های کف را می‌چیند، و وقتی آن‌ها، نهایتا ساب و جلا بخورد، می‌توانیم تخت‌خواب انوک را، به اتاق جدید منتقل کنیم. دری وجود ندارد. یک دریچه ی کف با دوازده پله از پایین، تنها ورودی اتاق است. انوک، کاملا هیجان‌ زده شده. سرش را از دریچه، به داخل اتاق می‌برد، و بیشتر وقتش را، به تماشای آن، و دادن دستورات دقیق، درباره ی آنچه که باید انجام شود، می‌گذراند. بقیه ی وقتش با من، توی آشپزخانه است، و تدارکات عید پاک را تماشا می‌کند. ژانو، اغلب با اوست. آن‌ها با هم، کنار در ِ آشپزخانه می‌نشینند، و هر دو هم‌زمان صحبت می‌کنند. مجبورم به آن‌ها رشوه بدهم، تا بروند».؛ پایان نقل از متن. بانو هریس، نویسنده ی کتاب شکلات، در مورد اثر خویش می‌گویند: «این سوژه، در عید پاک به فکرم رسید. وقتی که اطرافم پر بود از انواع شکلات‌ها، و آنچه که به عید پاک، مربوط می‌شد. به نظر می‌رسید، که راه آسانی برای شروع داستانم یافته‌ ام. علاوه بر این در نظر نداشتم، که داستانی جدی بنویسم. نمی‌خواستم قصه‌ ام، داستانی تکراری باشد، بلکه در نظر داشتم، سرگرم‌ کننده، و جالب، باشد. بنابراین واژه ی شکلات را، به‌ کار بردم. به عنوان بهانه‌ ای برای پیش کشیدن همه ی این موضوعات جدی، که در سر داشتم، به نظرم جالب آمد».؛ پایان نقل. کتاب سرشار از طراوت است. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    This wasn’t really my cup of tea. Think I’ll stick to Joanne Harris’ thrillers in future. It was ok. That pretty much sums up my feelings toward this book. There were parts I liked - mainly the side characters like Armande, and her grandson Luc. I liked Josephine and her storyline. I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters and there was so much pettiness that is just wasn’t enjoyable and i found myself rushing just to finish. Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk have just moved to This wasn’t really my cup of tea. Think I’ll stick to Joanne Harris’ thrillers in future. It was ok. That pretty much sums up my feelings toward this book. There were parts I liked - mainly the side characters like Armande, and her grandson Luc. I liked Josephine and her storyline. I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters and there was so much pettiness that is just wasn’t enjoyable and i found myself rushing just to finish. Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk have just moved to a small town and opened up a chocolate shop on the first week of Lent in a strong Catholic community. Naturally feathers are ruffled and a lot of the locals give Vianne a wide berth. However there are some that make it their business to give their opinion on Vianne and her way of living. Mainly the Priest and some of his more devout believers. Vianne doesn’t go to church, as is her right, but this doesn’t sit well with the community. At the same time she is quite open about her disregard for the others beliefs. I can see where both sides were coming from, and it made the whole thing uncomfortable. The priest is in the wrong, he sees Vianne as a threat to his congregation, he acts in a way he believes is right - but often frequently doubts his own path. Vianne is also pretty disrespectful. She has every right to live her life as she chooses and not be spoken down to because of it, but surely so do the believers? Unless they are being cruel of course, then they need standing up to. I don’t know, it wasn’t enjoyable and I read for enjoyment. I couldn’t relate to either side really - there were two major extremes shown. Plenty of good themes in here, but I would be lying if I said I’d recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    "Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, two hundred souls at most, no more than a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bordeaux. Blink once, and it's gone. One main street, a double row of dun-colored half-timbered houses leaning secretively together, a few laterals running parallel like the tines of a bent fork. A church, aggressively whitewashed, in a square of little shops. Farms scattered across the watchful land." Magical and scrumptious, Chocolat is a thrilling delight for the senses. When Vianne R "Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, two hundred souls at most, no more than a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bordeaux. Blink once, and it's gone. One main street, a double row of dun-colored half-timbered houses leaning secretively together, a few laterals running parallel like the tines of a bent fork. A church, aggressively whitewashed, in a square of little shops. Farms scattered across the watchful land." Magical and scrumptious, Chocolat is a thrilling delight for the senses. When Vianne Rocher and her imaginative daughter, Anouk, establish themselves and their chocolaterie in the small, French-Catholic town of Lansquenet, they are met with guarded curiosity and veiled hostility. As Vianne slowly begins to attract the townspeople with her winning combination of tantalizing chocolate creations and her warm friendship and unprejudiced acceptance, she sparks the wrath of the self-righteous and judgmental priest, Père Reynaud. Determined to rid the town of both the river gypsies as well as the influence of Vianne Rocher, Père Reynaud readies himself and his church for the battle between what he considers good versus evil. But, there is something quite incongruous and disturbing in his convictions. He loathes the members of his congregation: "Sheep are not the docile, pleasant creatures of the pastoral idyll. Any countryman will tell you that. They are sly, occasionally vicious, pathologically stupid." He is arrogant and overly confident: "When Vianne Rocher sees the power of the church - my influence over every single soul in the community - then she will know she has lost." Can Vianne and Père Reynaud exist side by side in this small community? The story alternates between the first person narration of Vianne and Père Reynaud, allowing the reader to become quite intimate with the innermost thoughts of these complex characters. With vivid imagery, an entertaining and eccentric cast of secondary characters, and an engaging storyline, author Joanne Harris has created a novel which satisfies not only your senses, but also your intellect. Don't let the backdrop of exquisite chocolates and other heavenly concoctions fool you into thinking there is nothing more to this novel. With its underlying themes of moral perplexities, Chocolat contains more than meets the eye. Note to potential reader: Prior to opening the pages of this book, I highly recommend that you indulge and stock up on a plentiful supply of superior chocolates to be consumed while reading. A last minute search for a leftover Hershey bar or chocolate kiss will leave you a bit disappointed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    Chocolate, crazy-fun old ladies, Bible thumpers learning to lighten up, French people, witchcraft, and sexy gypsies. Come on, say no to any of those things. I dare you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    When Vianne Roche blows into Lansquenet-Sous-Tannes, a sleepy French town, on the tail of carnival she brings with her a touch of witchcraft and huge gobs of humanity. Accompanied by her daughter, Anouk, her imaginary pet rabbit, and a wealth of knowledge not only of how to make the finest confections, but how to see into people’s souls, she is destined to stir things up. The darkness to her light is the local priest, Francis Reynaud, who makes it his business to try to rid the town of this impu When Vianne Roche blows into Lansquenet-Sous-Tannes, a sleepy French town, on the tail of carnival she brings with her a touch of witchcraft and huge gobs of humanity. Accompanied by her daughter, Anouk, her imaginary pet rabbit, and a wealth of knowledge not only of how to make the finest confections, but how to see into people’s souls, she is destined to stir things up. The darkness to her light is the local priest, Francis Reynaud, who makes it his business to try to rid the town of this impure non-believer, and spoil her planned chocolate festival. Vianne’s humanity proves decisive for many in the town, Josephine, who finds the strength to leave her abusive spouse. Gaillume eventually learns to let his sick dog Charley move on. Vianne befriends Amande, an elder practitioner of Vianne’s arts, who welcomes the travelers when they arrive and are rejected by the bigots of the town. She is less successful with the dark Muscat, wife beater and perpetrator of even darker crimes. Most chapters tell Vianne’s story, but some are told through the eyes of Reynaud, as he speaks of his fear, desires and crimes to his comatose predecessor. This is a clear battle between the warmth of a secular or at least non-Christian humanity against the cold disapproval of the church. Harris has made her demons quite dark, but allows a glimmer of humanity to peep through. We have a sense, at least, of why they may have fallen so far from the path of truth. Vianne is sometimes a bit too quick to judge, and if she does indeed become aware of that the fact that the author allows her a flaw or two adds to her humanity. The book was engaging, magical, both literally in its subject matter and in the beauty of its telling. Joanne Harris can be found at her site

  7. 4 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    I loved the read. I had read the book as a child from the local library and now picking it up after many many years was a pure joy. I loved Lansquenet, the characters, the lovely prose; everything! Basically the story looms around chocolates being an indulgence and a sin and the local priest seeing Vianne and her chocolate shop as the evil that has come to break the lent and prayers of the townsfolk. The descriptions will make you yearn for chocolates and hot chocolate drinks. That’s a guarantee I loved the read. I had read the book as a child from the local library and now picking it up after many many years was a pure joy. I loved Lansquenet, the characters, the lovely prose; everything! Basically the story looms around chocolates being an indulgence and a sin and the local priest seeing Vianne and her chocolate shop as the evil that has come to break the lent and prayers of the townsfolk. The descriptions will make you yearn for chocolates and hot chocolate drinks. That’s a guarantee because I don’t even love chocolates that much. I had unbearable cravings. Strengths: -Atmospheric (you might want to bathe in chocolates) -Magical (oh, Lovely) -Strong characters (all of them touched my heart. They were written to perfection) -Themes of religion, superstition, prejudice towards gypsies, the idea of Home to those who are always on the run etc I had forgotten how the book was and the movie had imprinted itself in my thoughts. I didn’t know (or rather remember) both the stories were different. OH MY GOd!! WHYYY? I kept screaming in my head, ‘’ Joanne, follow the movie. FOLLOW the movie.’’ But yeah, nothing happened. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED the book. I kept reading searching for A’s party because it is one of the BEST scenes in the movie. Ah! It isn’t there in the book. Roux? I refuse to believe that the gypsy’s story turns out the way it does in the book. Movie please? The book is good, the movie is good too. You might say the book is more realistic, but why don’t we have happy endings over warm chocolate drinks? Doesn’t that sound better? Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Having read and loved Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris, I was really looking forward to reading Chocolat. Unfortunalty this particular book just didnt suit me. I didn't enjoy the plot of the novel and the found the characters underdeveloped and no sense of time and place. I rarly rate a novel 1 star but I found nothing in this stroy to to keep me entertained and I felt like I was reading each chapter over and over. I did finish the book as I was waiting for something to happen tha Having read and loved Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris, I was really looking forward to reading Chocolat. Unfortunalty this particular book just didnt suit me. I didn't enjoy the plot of the novel and the found the characters underdeveloped and no sense of time and place. I rarly rate a novel 1 star but I found nothing in this stroy to to keep me entertained and I felt like I was reading each chapter over and over. I did finish the book as I was waiting for something to happen that would redeem the novel but butI by the end I was left feeling very disappointed. Many of my friends have loved this book but it just didnt work for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Yes, you are stuck: Juliette Binoche is Vianne Rocher, and you can't work your way around it, unless you've spent the past two decades under a rock. But, let's face it, she was at least appropriately cast, and you'll get through it. Beyond that, it turns out this novel is like a refreshing and delicious wind that blows in your direction right when you need it. And, naturally, by the end of the novel, you're ransacking your kitchen for chocolate.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Let me start this review by saying I have never seen the film version of Chocolat. Therefore, I started reading this with no preconceived notions. (Well, no more than usual, anyway.) I liked Chocolat but there were several glaring annoyances that ruined it for me. I did not appreciate the "chocolate lovers vs. churchgoers" plot. Casting a priest in the role of the villain irritated me. (I echo the others who say this is overdone.) Even so, I think the priest could have been redeemed. If only he ha Let me start this review by saying I have never seen the film version of Chocolat. Therefore, I started reading this with no preconceived notions. (Well, no more than usual, anyway.) I liked Chocolat but there were several glaring annoyances that ruined it for me. I did not appreciate the "chocolate lovers vs. churchgoers" plot. Casting a priest in the role of the villain irritated me. (I echo the others who say this is overdone.) Even so, I think the priest could have been redeemed. If only he had worked through his guilt and developed a good sense of humour and humility. But, nooo... that would never do. Because religious figures can never have true faith. *rolls eyes* And the most unforgivable sin: I never really felt anything for the characters... No love or sympathy. Except maybe Guillaume. I liked him. Also, the moral of this book seemed to be: "Indulge yourself! Do what feels right! (Even if you consequently die/get pregnant/shame yourself forever.)" Yeah. I'm not really digging that moral. Yet, I could not dislike this book. It was strangely addicting. Reading it was like eating a confection you know is not very good when compared with something of a higher calibre, but you keep mindlessly eating it anyway though you're not sure why. Oh! Which reminds me: Don't read this book if you're on a diet. I literally craved chocolate the entire time I was reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Like so many people I read the book after I saw the movie. I can see why people would be upset with the book after seeing the movie - the book is a different story in many ways. I think the tone of the book threw me off more than anything. I have to say I really enjoyed both the book and the movie. I think it is rare to read a book and have it be almost verbatim what you experience in the movie (The Princess Bride is the only exception I can think of off the top of my head) so if I like a movie Like so many people I read the book after I saw the movie. I can see why people would be upset with the book after seeing the movie - the book is a different story in many ways. I think the tone of the book threw me off more than anything. I have to say I really enjoyed both the book and the movie. I think it is rare to read a book and have it be almost verbatim what you experience in the movie (The Princess Bride is the only exception I can think of off the top of my head) so if I like a movie well enough to read the book I almost always have to take a deep breath and hope that the experience I had with the movie is not destroyed by the book. So to be able to walk away from the book and think that I would read more by Joanne Harris is a good thing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    I enjoyed reading this book very much. A little bit of magic, good people, bad people, gypsies, little songs in French, an imaginary friend, love, loss, mystery and more chocolate drink than I could have imagined. The names of the candies made my mouth water. The story made me laugh at things a little girl can say it made me cry over an old man and his old dog. It made me think about what it means to hear someone say that they had lived a good life and how they wanted that life to end on their o I enjoyed reading this book very much. A little bit of magic, good people, bad people, gypsies, little songs in French, an imaginary friend, love, loss, mystery and more chocolate drink than I could have imagined. The names of the candies made my mouth water. The story made me laugh at things a little girl can say it made me cry over an old man and his old dog. It made me think about what it means to hear someone say that they had lived a good life and how they wanted that life to end on their own terms. I loved the little French town, Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, that Vianne and her daughter Anouk found themselves in after the carnival was over. She was there to open a little candy shop. She called it La Celeste Praline Chocolaterie Artisanale. There are two first person narrators of this story. One is Vianne and the other is the priest, Monsieur Renynauld. Vianne tells the story to us, the reader, and the Monsieur tells his to someone called only "mon pere". I liked it. It added a mystery to the story, that slowly unfolded. It was a good story. A struggle between good and evil in a tiny little villiage that did not take well to outsiders. This was the first book that I have read by Joanne Harris. I am looking forward to reading many more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Chocolat is a contemporary novel with a few fantasy elements. I really liked the setting, which is one of most beautiful and immersive settings I've read about lately. This is the second time I have read the book. It was worth rereading, but not amazing enough for me to read it a third time, most likely. The beginning: We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hot plate ri Chocolat is a contemporary novel with a few fantasy elements. I really liked the setting, which is one of most beautiful and immersive settings I've read about lately. This is the second time I have read the book. It was worth rereading, but not amazing enough for me to read it a third time, most likely. The beginning: We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hot plate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter. There is a febrile excitement in the crowds that line the narrow main street, necks craning to catch sight of the crêpe-covered char with its trailing ribbons and paper rosettes. Anouk watches, eyes wide, a yellow ribbon in one hand and a toy trumpet in the other, from between a shopping basket and a sad brown dog. We have seen carnivals before, she and I; a procession of two hundred and fifty of the decorated chars in Paris last Mardi Gras, a hundred and eighty in New York, two dozen marching bands in Vienna, clowns on stilts, the Grosses Tetes with their lolling papier-mâché heads, drum majorettes with batons spinning and sparkling. But at six the world retains a special luster. A wooden cart, hastily decorated with gilt and crêpe and scenes from fairy tales. A dragon's head on a shield, Rapunzel in a woolen wig, a mermaid with a cellophane tail, a gingerbread house all icing and gilded cardboard, a witch in the doorway, waggling extravagant green fingernails at a group of silent children... At six it is possible to perceive subtleties that a year later are already out of reach. The plot: Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk move to the French village of Lansquenet, where Vianne sets up a chocolaterie called La Céleste Praline. When the book opens, it is Mardi Gras. They arrive in town during the carnival. The shop is on the square opposite the church and clashes with the old-fashioned town's strict observation of Lent. Vianne is the main point-of-view character, but Pere Reynaud, the local priest, who has a vendetta against Vianne, gets some chapters from his point of view. I also enjoyed the secondary characters. The magic: The magic is understated, but it is a bigger deal in the book than the film. The main character knows what each character's favorite chocolates or sweets are as soon as she meets them, because she can read their thoughts. Tarot cards play a role, although they may or may not actually reveal the future. The antagonist: Reynaud is great, and I don't think he's a cartoon villain. This is a gray hats vs white hats type of conflict. The film made the mayor the antagonist instead, so if you have only seen the movie you might want to check out the book version. The ending: The ending is bittersweet, but not too sad, and it leaves a few loose ends. In contrast, the film comes closer to tying things up in a neat little bow. (Softening the impact of a bittersweet ending is not exactly new in film adaptations, so I really should have expected it. Stardust by Neil Gaiman comes to mind.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “Why can no one here think of anything but chocolates?” ― Joanne Harris, Chocolat This book will be sure to make you crave some chocolate..or..baked goods at least. So have your appetite ready. Seriously, we all know the plot so no plot review on this one. I adored the book AND the film. I fell in love with the charming and quaint little village and wanted very much to live there. (And have some of their chocolate.) I think I liked the movie a wee bit more but that is only because this book is so “Why can no one here think of anything but chocolates?” ― Joanne Harris, Chocolat This book will be sure to make you crave some chocolate..or..baked goods at least. So have your appetite ready. Seriously, we all know the plot so no plot review on this one. I adored the book AND the film. I fell in love with the charming and quaint little village and wanted very much to live there. (And have some of their chocolate.) I think I liked the movie a wee bit more but that is only because this book is so VISUAL. It was delightful to see the village brought to life. (And looking at Johnny Depp did not hurt either!). If you have not read this, make some cocoa or something, curl up on a snowy day and get lost in this warm and luscious book about Chocolate and the village people who make it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I did not like this book. I didn't think the author developed the characters well enough that I could even tell them apart by half-way through. There was not enough for me to develop emphathy for anyone in the book except the guy with the little, old dog. I also have a problem with an author being so blatant about the axe they have to grind with any particular group. I thought the book was anti-religious and anti-Catholic, specifically. I am not of the thought or feeling that anyone has to be rel I did not like this book. I didn't think the author developed the characters well enough that I could even tell them apart by half-way through. There was not enough for me to develop emphathy for anyone in the book except the guy with the little, old dog. I also have a problem with an author being so blatant about the axe they have to grind with any particular group. I thought the book was anti-religious and anti-Catholic, specifically. I am not of the thought or feeling that anyone has to be religious by any means, people can believe what they want. But when those of different belief systems have to put down others to make themselves feel wise or superior (ie, refer to religious people as those who believe in fairy tales), it is counter productive to the message that we should all be accepting of others' differences (as I thought was a main theme of the book), and turns the author and main character into hypocrites.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Devlin Scott

    I dare anyone to read this novel and not hunger for something sweet. This is a wonderful tale of family and magic and hope. It is not your typical romance and well worth the time. You may find yourself wishing for a confection or two...before you've finished reading. Devlin

  17. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    "I believe that being happy is the only important thing. Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or torturous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive." If you've watched the movie from a few years back and you've only decided just now to pick up the book where the movie was based on, prepare to be surprised (although in what way exactly, I leave it to you). I can hardly believe that a novel so richly packed with meaning could be so relatively short. Harris' prose here is at its finest, as we follow "I believe that being happy is the only important thing. Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or torturous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive." If you've watched the movie from a few years back and you've only decided just now to pick up the book where the movie was based on, prepare to be surprised (although in what way exactly, I leave it to you). I can hardly believe that a novel so richly packed with meaning could be so relatively short. Harris' prose here is at its finest, as we follow the narratives of Vianne, the free-spirited chocolate-creating witch, and Reynaud, the guilt-stricken oppressive village priest. Young widow Vianne Roche's mouthwatering bonbons, steaming mugs of liqueur-laced cocoa and flaky cream-filled patisserie don't earn her a warm welcome from the stern prelate of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. In Francis Reynaud's zeal to enforce strict Lenten vows of self-denial, he regards his sybaritic neighbor with suspicion and disdain. It is Lent, the priest has decreed abstinence, deprivation. Yet, Vianne's shop is a "red-and-gold confection," her window a proliferation of truffles, pralines, candied fruits, hazelnut clusters, candied rose petals, all there to tempt Reynaud's parishioners. He sees it as a disgrace, a degradation of the faith, and eventually preaches against Vianne from his pulpit. Undaunted, Vianne garners support from the town's eccentrics, chiefly Armande Voizin, the oldest living resident, a self-professed sorceress who senses in Vianne a kindred spirit. A fun-loving band of river gypsies arrives, and a colorful pageant unfurls. Each narrative is uniquely told, with personality quirks inherent to each, and each narrative can be subtly imperfect - Reynaud slowly descends into madness, as does his precise narrative; Vianne's fear of weakness and displacement causes her to falsely claim that she never cries, causes her to state a yearning to move on which does not exist, and causes her to doubt her own importance to her lover Roux - creating a tantalizing problem for the reader: do we believe Vianne or do we believe Roux and his actions? The problem is - like Vianne's chocolates - delicate and bitter-sweet, with possibilities abounding on either side. Beautifully drawn characters become very real. My favorites were Anouk, Vianne's utterly delightful child (not to be without her imaginary rabbit friend, Pantoufle); Guillaume who comes out of his shell after the death of his beloved dog, Charly; and of course Mme. Armande Voizin who was reunited with her grandson even under the close scrutiny of her self-important daughter. I was most touched in a jarring way of the domestic conflict between Josephine Muscat and that of her husband. I cheered for her when she finally found the inner strength to leave him for good and live her own life. "Places all have their characters, and returning to a city you've lived before is like coming home to an old friend. No, places do not lose their identity, however far one travels. It is the heart that begins to erode after a time." A surprising yet fitting denouement caps this deftly told tale of lust, greed and love. Francophiles will be drawn to the evocative descriptions of daily village life, while gourmands revel in the mouth-watering descriptions of chocolate preparation. "Chocolat" is a heart warming and enjoyable story. The only downfall: the intense chocolate cravings the whole time you read! Book Details: Title Chocolat Author Joanne Harris Reviewed By Purplycookie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    So much chocolate (in liquid form) was consumed during the reading of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leila

    I remembered that I did read this book a long time ago and cannot remember the actual date. I am not re-reading it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    Chocolat was exactly the kind of novel I needed at the moment. I discarded books left and right, I was in the mood for something literary and after re-watching the movie - I settled on this one. I decided to savor it as one would a piece of chocolate, slowly, letting it melt into my mouth so that I could absorb the flavor better. The book is similar to the movie and yet very different - surprisingly I like both in their own way. It was a beautiful novel, full of magic, luscious descriptions of ch Chocolat was exactly the kind of novel I needed at the moment. I discarded books left and right, I was in the mood for something literary and after re-watching the movie - I settled on this one. I decided to savor it as one would a piece of chocolate, slowly, letting it melt into my mouth so that I could absorb the flavor better. The book is similar to the movie and yet very different - surprisingly I like both in their own way. It was a beautiful novel, full of magic, luscious descriptions of chocolate and other confections, and human relationships. It was hard to remember that this novel is set in modern times and not back in the day. I think I prefer the movie villain as the book's villain is a bit too typical. Father Francis is everything I despise about the church and the reason I no longer go, a man convinced of his own piety and holiness while blaming everyone for their sins without actually attempting to save them. I especially can't forgive him for Josephine. The bastard knew what her husband did to her and yet he still pleaded for her to go back to him, until the husband shows his colors in public. How's leaving your extremely abusive husband breaking the sanctity of marriage, but beating your wife acceptable? And of course, everyone in town knows and no one does anything until it's almost too late. Sanctimonious assholes. The novel ends on a bittersweet note and yet there is a promise of good things to come. And now I'm curious to read the next novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    4.5 stars Warning: do not read this book if you’re hungry and have no delicious chocolate in the house! Sorry, had to get the practicalities out of the way first before I tell you how amazing and sensuous this book is (and that’s sensuous as in relating or affecting the senses, and not sexually gratifying - although it is a bit saucy at times) . Chocolat is a wonderfully atmospheric story that’s sprinkled with just a little bit of magic and occasionally hinting at a darker underbelly... Essentially 4.5 stars Warning: do not read this book if you’re hungry and have no delicious chocolate in the house! Sorry, had to get the practicalities out of the way first before I tell you how amazing and sensuous this book is (and that’s sensuous as in relating or affecting the senses, and not sexually gratifying - although it is a bit saucy at times) . Chocolat is a wonderfully atmospheric story that’s sprinkled with just a little bit of magic and occasionally hinting at a darker underbelly... Essentially it’s the perfect read to get lost in on a chilly winter’s afternoon, as you enter Vianne’s chocolaterie and become enveloped in a warm, sugary, vanilla-scented atmosphere... sorry, just made myself hungry. . Vianne and her daughter Anouk live a nomadic lifestyle, wandering through countries just like Vianne and her mother did before - but what are they running from? Perhaps a shadowy man who keeps appearing in their tarot deck, but it won’t prove so easy to escape him. . I loved how Harris managed to walk the fine line between absorbing storytelling and whimsical atmosphere with more serious themes and darker tones - it’s not a frivolous read but still an enjoyable one. Plus her characterisation makes for fun reading - I’m a sucker for a feisty old lady character, and Armande is the epitome of that! . If you’re looking for a delicious read with a touch of magic, look no further!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Edith Fischer

    I liked the style, alternating chapters narrated by the heroine,chocolate shop owner Vianne Rocher, and her nemesis, the village priest. The book creates charming images of creativity and sensitivity on the part of Vianne, contrasted with dark images of guilt and rigidity on the part of the priest. Free spirits versus conforming traditionalists. Love and friendship versus control and manipulation. Color and joie de vivre versus blackness and regret. Hints of deeper mystery in the past.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Gomes

    I probably would have had a different opinion of the book had I read it before I saw the movie but... I liked the movie as well as the book for the courage it portrays in a fight against prejudices. There is so much of racism in the World today, that Vianne's fight for the Gypsies to be accepted in that little town comes as a breath of fresh, heady air, much like Vianne herself. I also liked the idea of good fun in a very tight, moralistic society, the entire town seemed to have let their hair dow I probably would have had a different opinion of the book had I read it before I saw the movie but... I liked the movie as well as the book for the courage it portrays in a fight against prejudices. There is so much of racism in the World today, that Vianne's fight for the Gypsies to be accepted in that little town comes as a breath of fresh, heady air, much like Vianne herself. I also liked the idea of good fun in a very tight, moralistic society, the entire town seemed to have let their hair down and had fun. Good food, lots of music and dancing and tons of Chocolate too. It was as if on that Easter the town had renewed itself. There is always a catalyst on such occasions and Vianne was the flute of champagne in that uptight little town, opening a lot of minds and sweeping away the cobwebs What a beautiful book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Food porn at its best, Chocolat is magical, mischievous and original… but not nearly as good as I remember it. Everything the novel falls short of is portrayed beautifully in the exquisite 2000 film adaptation. (And… Johnny Depp. Say no to that, I dare you!) Although the novel is immersive and atmospheric, the film enhances the ambience and narrative into a much more compelling piece. Joanne Harris' contemporary depiction was usurped in favour of a charming 60s setting - a pivotal decision, I th Food porn at its best, Chocolat is magical, mischievous and original… but not nearly as good as I remember it. Everything the novel falls short of is portrayed beautifully in the exquisite 2000 film adaptation. (And… Johnny Depp. Say no to that, I dare you!) Although the novel is immersive and atmospheric, the film enhances the ambience and narrative into a much more compelling piece. Joanne Harris' contemporary depiction was usurped in favour of a charming 60s setting - a pivotal decision, I think. Harris disclosed that she was warned the novel was “too old fashioned” to sell, and I completely agree on the old fashioned bit; I struggled to contextualise this. The language and the plot itself felt archaic and I was completely convinced it was set in the 1950s, maybe the 60s - until microwavable pizza (yeuch) made an appearance. On a more elemental level, the film adaptation also contextualises both Vianne herself and the magical realism. If you can contextualise magical realism, that is. In the novel, Vianne’s backstory is ambiguous and left conveniently hazy whereas the adaptation meant the notion of her lifestyle made some sense. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of ambiguity, but unless it’s Heathcliff, I need some background knowledge on a character. I also don’t appreciate how polarising this was: Catholicism vs. Paganism. The Church was very obviously made out to be the villain of the story whereas everybody else revered Vianne, if only for her optimism and whimsical morals. Why not live on every whim and desire, take every indulgence, succumb to every desire... Look, I’d love to, honey - but the world doesn’t work like that. Whereas the glorious, free-spirited, airy fairy Vianne is the stereotype of optimism, the straitlaced, controlling priest’s POV was very, very priest-y, almost laughably so. I felt like I was reading propaganda in that sense. But the prose is beautiful. I have never gotten so hot and bothered reading descriptions of chocolate and pastries. Oh my. The quality of Chocolat for me lies in the superficial - this is a sensuous piece that leaves the senses reeling. Stock up on some good quality chocolate before you this a go - Cadbury and Hershey’s will feel very compromised in the aftermath.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Joanne Harris made me long to move to Europe. More fantasizing about small town, rural life. And the descriptions of the chocolate left me dreaming about rose creams, amaretto, pain au chocolat...why is it that these books that leave me hungry and dissatisfied are some of my favorites? Really. This book is full of luscious sentences, beautiful descriptions, and alluring personalities. It's different from the movie - but both have the same spirit of magical glamor. And both make me need to go get Joanne Harris made me long to move to Europe. More fantasizing about small town, rural life. And the descriptions of the chocolate left me dreaming about rose creams, amaretto, pain au chocolat...why is it that these books that leave me hungry and dissatisfied are some of my favorites? Really. This book is full of luscious sentences, beautiful descriptions, and alluring personalities. It's different from the movie - but both have the same spirit of magical glamor. And both make me need to go get a truffle.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Chocolat was good for the sort of fluffy, non-literary sort of book that it is. Vianne, who is a witch of sorts, arrives with her young daughter in a small French town and opens a chocolate shop. Her sensual, outsider ways began to change the lives of the townspeople and invokes the ire of the local priest. This is an enjoyable, light read, but one thing that confused me was when the novel was taking place. I remember reading a part about someone watching videos, but the idea of a priest being u Chocolat was good for the sort of fluffy, non-literary sort of book that it is. Vianne, who is a witch of sorts, arrives with her young daughter in a small French town and opens a chocolate shop. Her sensual, outsider ways began to change the lives of the townspeople and invokes the ire of the local priest. This is an enjoyable, light read, but one thing that confused me was when the novel was taking place. I remember reading a part about someone watching videos, but the idea of a priest being upset over people eating chocolate seems so bizarrely anachronistic that I assumed it couldn't be set anywhere near modern times. I suppose they couldn't have made a film if Vianne had come to town to open up a porno shop.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley

    I enjoyed the novel. Completely different than the movie. I liked both, for different reasons. The book was a lot darker, with beautiful imagery. The movie had Johnny Depp.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rick Slane

    A Lenten Easter treat. I like the way the author puts words together.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    Nomadic single mother Vianne Rocher, comes to the small French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes and opens up a sumptuously described chocolaterie during Lent, oh... and she might or might not be a witch! Her chocolaterie and presence in the village really upsets priest Francis Reynaud, and his supporters. Harris builds the suspense up to an inevitable confrontation. Harris writing really captures this French village and the chocolaterie so well at the start of this, so well indeed, that for me t Nomadic single mother Vianne Rocher, comes to the small French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes and opens up a sumptuously described chocolaterie during Lent, oh... and she might or might not be a witch! Her chocolaterie and presence in the village really upsets priest Francis Reynaud, and his supporters. Harris builds the suspense up to an inevitable confrontation. Harris writing really captures this French village and the chocolaterie so well at the start of this, so well indeed, that for me the bar was set so high, I found it difficult to get into the rest of the book. Definitely a book I'd love to re-read one day. 6 out of 12

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a bilingual review. In all honesty, the only reason I ever bought this book was because Johnny Depp is in the movie, and I have this thing where I collect books that have him on the cover. Although I don’t really remember the movie that well, the faded memory is an overall nice, magical and chocolaty one. I’ve been meaning to read the book for years, though for some reason I expected that the book would not be to my liking and that it would somehow spoil the whole Chocolat experience for This is a bilingual review. In all honesty, the only reason I ever bought this book was because Johnny Depp is in the movie, and I have this thing where I collect books that have him on the cover. Although I don’t really remember the movie that well, the faded memory is an overall nice, magical and chocolaty one. I’ve been meaning to read the book for years, though for some reason I expected that the book would not be to my liking and that it would somehow spoil the whole Chocolat experience for me. I can now say that I was very pleasantly surprised—this was a very easy read, filled with an overall magical atmosphere and lots of chocolaty dirty talk. You should probably want to have some chocolate or candies around you while reading it. ------------------------------------------------ Като цяло единствената причина, поради която си купих книгата, бе факта, че Джони Деп участва във филма и че имам влечение да колекционирам книги, който имат негов образ на корицата. Гледах филма доста отдавна, споменът ми за него е вече доста избледнял, но като цяло чувството, което е оставил у мен, е приятно и магично. Книгата я купих може би преди поне 3 години, и отдавна искам да я прочета, въпреки че малко се притеснявах, че няма да ми хареса толкова, колкото филма. За моя радост бях приятно изненадана—чете се доста лесно и ти създава една магична шоколадова атмосфера. Бих препоръчала да се заредите с шоколад и сладкиши, когато е я четете. Да има, че рязко може да ви се дояде.

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