The Hundred-Foot Journey Richard C. Morais. Scribner, $23 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-6564-5
With his debut novel, longtime Forbes magazine correspondent Morais delves into a rich, imagery-filled culinary world that begins in Bombay and ends in Paris, tracing the career of Hassan Haji as he becomes a famed Parisian chef. Narrated by Hassan, the story begins with his grandfather starting a lowly restaurant in Bombay on the eve of WWII, which his father later inherits. But when tragedy strikes and Hassan’s mother is killed, the Hajis leave India, and, after a brief and discontented sojourn in England, destiny leads them to the quaint French alpine village of Lumière. There, the family settles, bringing Indian cuisine to the unsuspecting town, provoking the ire of Madame Mallory, an unpleasant but extremely talented local chef. From vibrantly depicted French markets and restaurant kitchens to the lively and humorously portrayed Haji family, Morais engulfs the reader in Hassan’s wondrous world of discovery. Regardless of one’s relationship with food, this novel will spark the desire to wield a whisk or maybe just a knife and fork.