In The Kitchen by Monica Ali
Gabriel Lightfoot’s life HAD been going well: executive chef of a kitchen, a lovely girlfriend, and two men ready to become his partners and help him open his very own kitchen. Then Yuri, the kitchen’s Ukranian porter, is found dead and everything begins to go downhill. Gabe finds out that his father is dying, becomes infatuated with the unpleasant Lena who worked at the restaurant until Yuri’s death, and begins acting erraticly – jeopordizing his relationships with both his girlfriend and his business partners.
There were some very interesting elements to this story around the issues of immigration, exploitation, culture, and racism/zenophobia. That being said, I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. If it hadn’t been a review copy I probably would not have finished it. It wasn’t that it was a bad book, there were no problems with the writing, I simply didn’t like any of the characters or really care about what was happening to them. Judging by the other reviews on LibraryThing, it isn’t just me, either.
If you’re interested in Monica Ali, I’d try “Brick Lane” instead, I’ve heard very good things about that one.