by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 4 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Did you make it all the way through the book? Did you feel like the last section was the hardest to read? I found it to be the slowest and most difficult part.

Much of this last section revolves around Paul, a chef friend of Hassan who dies under suspicious circumstances. In the book, we are led to believe that Paul committed suicide because he was distraught over the fact that his restaurant was being demoted to two stars. This has happened at least once in real life, according to this article in Vanity Fair. The article also reveals some of the other ways that Michelin stars can cause chefs grief. It’s amazing to think that the opinion of a few restaurant critics can change public perception of a restaurant so much that the restaurant stops being successful.

Were you sad when you read the parts about Paul? And was there part of you hoping that Hassan wouldn’t get any Michelin stars, just so he wouldn’t have to face that constant pressure?

What did you think about the ending of the book? I thought it was a little abrupt. Hassan won his final star, and then the book just finished. Were you hoping to have more closure with each character? I was disappointed with the end—I guess I thought the characters would come to more of a conclusion with each other. I don’t really know what I was looking for. I just thought that the whole book was a big journey, and then, suddenly, Hassan was finished just because he got his third star.

Did any of you check out this movie version this month? I didn’t seem to find the time to watch it, even though I think it looks really good. Check out this interview with producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey if you still can’t decide if you should check out the movie.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s selection. Please make sure to let me know all of your thoughts about the ending in the comments section.

In July, we’re reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I hope to hear from you then.


4 Responses to “The Hundred-Foot Journey: Week 4”

  1. Carrol

    I was a little disappointed when I started this last section. I really liked that Hassan’s father was so generous in giving him the money he needed for his own restaurant. As this section developed, I found myself getting more involved again. At one point, I really thought that something was going to be seriously wrong with Hassan.

    The death of Paul was really sad. It was hard to believe the only option out of his situation was suicide. I was really moved by his wish for Hassan to be in charge of the dinner after his death. Like Madame, he knew and appreciated the talents of Hassan.

    I agree the ending was abrupt. I was so happy for Hassan’s success, but I wanted to see what would happen next. I guess I am hoping he will continue to develop as a chef and maybe even get married.

    After watching the interview with Oprah and Spielberg, I am interested in watching the movie. Thanks for including that.

    Overall, I am really glad I read this book. Thanks for guiding us through it.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I was really sad about Paul as well.

      I wish we could know what is going to happen with Hassan. I think he will end up getting married, but I’m not really sure. I think he will continue growing as a chet–I wonder what kind of cuisine he could get interested in next.

      Thanks for responding all month! I hope you get a chance to watch the movie!

      Talk to you next month, hopefully!

  2. Jane Engle

    While the last section of the book was not as likable as Week 3, I enjoyed reading about what Hassan underwent as a result of his Papa’s, Madame Mallory’s and his friend Paul’s deaths. The depressing times that happened due to government-imposed taxes and employee benefits, then decreasing sales at his simple fare restaurant location made one wonder if he could recover. It was only his relationship with Paul that helped Hassan get through his mid-life crisis at the age of 40 when he felt unable to pursue anything worthwhile. Fortunately, he realized he had to make his own personal decisions regarding whether to give up his Indian life and food heritage or to pursue his dream of becoming the head chef of a 3-star Micheline restaurant. His thought process and what led to his choice greatly interested me.

    The “Vanity Fair” article was very insightful and showed a side of the restaurant industry and management that most people do not know nor understand. When a person has lived their whole life expecting to be judged and accepted based upon how well they cook, it is no wonder that a person would commit suicide when they get bad reviews or critiques. The listing of reasons why individuals do not want to be subjected to these criteria is very easy to understand and is why with today’s consumers and chefs falling out of practice.

    The ending of the book left me wondering if there would be a sequel in the works. Since the Haji family was comprised of many members, restaurant staff, coworkers, benefactors and friends, numerous sources for story ideas could be expanded upon and developed.

    • Erin K.

      Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed the Vanity Fair article. I don’t think I would be able to live up to the pressure of the restaurant industry. I don’t think I could bear to be judged on the quality of one meal or recipe.

      It would be great if there could be a sequel. It would be great to know what happens to Hassan, and it would be interesting to see more about other members of his family.

      I hope you enjoyed the book this month! Thanks for commenting along! I hope to hear from you next month as well!

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