In the Kitchen
Gabriel L ightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern E ngland mill town, making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial H otel, he is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. D espite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off.
Until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a small death, a lonely death -- but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.
Elsewhere, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and the restaurant manager appears to be running an illegal business under Gabe's nose.
Enter L ena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. U nder her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows -- and the future he thought he wanted.
Readers and reviewers have been stunned by the breadth of humanity in Monica Ali's fiction. S he is compared to D ickens and called one of three British novelists who are "the voice of a generation" by Time magazine. In the Kitchen is utterly contemporary yet has all the drama and heartbreak of a great nineteenth-century novel. Ali is sheer pleasure to read, a truly magnificent writer.
- Scribner |
- 352 pages |
- ISBN 9781416579007 |
- June 2009
Meet Booker Prize Winning Author Monica Ali
Reading Group Guide
Amid the fading glory of the Imperial Hotel, embattled Executive Chef Gabriel Lightfoot tries to maintain his culinary integrity in the hotel’s restaurant, while managing an unruly but talented group of immigrant cooks. He must please the management of the hotel, recently purchased by an international conglomerate.
When the dead body of a Ukrainian porter is discovered in the restaurant cellar, the tenuous balance in Gabe’s life begins to slip. Adding to his stress, Gabe’s plan to open his own restaurant with two wealthy investors is hitting a critical stage, his father is diagnosed with cancer, and his girlfriend starts talking about a new level in their relationship. Meanwhile, Gabe convinces himself that Gleeson, the restaurant’s shifty floor manager, is using hotel property to conduct some sort of nefarious business.
With all this on his mind, Gabe encounters a young immigrant named Lena, a girl mysteriously tied to the death of the porter, and he makes a decision, the consequences of wh see more