In the Kitchen by Monica Ali


I had read Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, some years ago and had loved it. When I chanced upon this book, I grabbed it.

In the Kitchen starts off in a smart London restaurant, which is run by Gabriel(Gabe) Lightfoot, managing his kitchen workers from all over the world. Gabriel is hoping to open his own restaurant and has a steady girlfriend, Charlie, settled life, more-or-less.

His life is turned upside down with the discovery of a death of a porter in the basement of the restaurant and with the appearance of Lena, a mysterious immigrant from Europe. Gabe also learns that his father is suffering from cancer and his grandmother, from dementia. The book is mainly about Gabriel and his reaction to the deal that life dealt him.

The book touches upon multiculturalism in Britain, the various underlying emotions, related to immigration that seem to plague most of the characters using the restaurant kitchen as an interesting setting. After Brick lane, I think my expectations were rather high, and sadly the book, kind of, fell flat -for me. The characters did not appeal, their motives felt rather flimsy, and make believe, although I did enjoy the part where Gabe went up north to his childhood home.. His Nana was one of the few vibrant characters in the book.

It was a book that I struggled to read. There was something definitely missing about the book. It was a book with too many things, and they just did not work well together. All in all, a disappointing read. Especially after Brick lane.

11 thoughts on “In the Kitchen by Monica Ali

  1. second.. πŸ™‚
    If I may ask can you please share with me the secret of finding time to read book? I am struggling for past one month to finish that one book in hand 😦

    • I read all the time, Ani πŸ™‚ If there is one thing I do with total dedication – it is reading πŸ™‚ Infact, this book took me longer than usual- it just did not capture my attention 😦

  2. I haven’t read any books by Monica Ali, but have read reviews of Brick Lane all over blogland. I always thought her books will not be my type – being thrillers and murder mysteries type, or so I assumed.

    This one sounds so darn interesting. Foodie that I am, the backdrop of the kitchen intrigues me, and the storyline sounds so very different and interesting. However, I can understand how a book can fall flat if you don’t begin to love the characters.

    Pity you didn’t enjoy this one! 😦

    • You know, I thought the same when I read the blurb – but was horribly disappointed – I normally like books with food themes – but this one is just set in a kitchen – not exactly a foodie book:(

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