The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
When Hassan Haji’s mother is killed by a mob in the family’s restaurant in Mumbai, his family flees the country so as not to be constantly reminded of their loss. After a brief stop in England with family, the Hajis move to Lumiere, a small town in France with the intent of opening an Indian restaurant. The town’s primary restaurateur, Madame Mallory, is not at all pleased with this arrangement, particularly as the Hajis’ boisterous restaurant is located directly across the road from her stately restaurant, so she begins a campaign to shut them down.
You won’t hear me say this too often, but I actually think that “The Hundred-Foot Journey” was not long enough. I would have liked to spend more time getting deeper into many parts of Hassan’s young life. As it was, I felt like the story was progressing too quickly from plot point to plot point so that I wasn’t able to spend enough time with Hassan to truly get a feel for him, which kept me from caring as much about him as I would have liked. I really appreciated what an authentic feel of memoir Morais imparted on Hassan’s fictional story, but I wish I could have been made to care a bit more about Hassan and his story.
I also really liked many of the details of food and the restaurant business but, again, I would have liked to dwell on many of these things longer so as to get a fuller picture of it all. Still, the idea of looking at cultural differences and adaptation through the lens of food is a fascinating one.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is an interesting book with a great premise, but I think it could have been improved by being fleshed out a little more fully.
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