View Poll Results: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

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Thread: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

  1. #1
    laudator temporis acti andave_ya's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Chocolat by Joanne Harris

    Following the wind, Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk’s advent into the town of Lansquenet, France, sparks a renaissance in the sleepy town. Vianne’s uncatholic, pagan beliefs in scrying, divination and tarot irritate the priest Reynaud and his followers, especially since she used her beliefs and intuition to find out villager’s troubles, and sooth them with gifts of chocolate from her chocolaterie.

    The gypsies sailing into town only cemented the priest’s hatred of her. According to him, gypsies thieved, brought disease, and stirred the villagers up. She supported the gypsies; she helped a woman leave her abusive husband; she befriended the atheist madwoman of the town. Reynaud took Vianne as a personal affront, making it a crusade to get his supporters to boycott her business and run her out of the city. But Vianne did well enough to have a chocolate festival. She decided to hold a chocolate festival on Easter Sunday.
    The priest is outraged – such sinful decadence during the time they hold their Lenten fast? Maddened by lack of food and too angry to think clearly, he breaks into her store the night before the festival, intending to smash her chocolates. Instead, he caves in, tasting one chocolate, then another, a third, a fourth, till the bells ring on Easter Sunday and he is discovered asleep in the display window, to all appearances having gorged on chocolates in an orgy of pleasure that he always denounced. Humiliated, he runs to his house while Vianne’s chocolate festival begins.

    The wind changes, calling her. Does she follow? Or has she found a home in Lansquenet? Pleasantly vague, the book doesn’t say whether or not Vianne stays in the happy town, now that the controlling priest who put his own interpretation on religion is gone.

    In ending, a dark, deep, enjoyable read. 8/10. Chick lit warning for the gents!
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And why the sea is boiling hot--
    And whether pigs have wings."

  2. #2
    Ruadh gu brath ampoule's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    I loved the hocus pocus of this book and how rich, warm, gooey kindness can help people.
    I'm in love with The Vinegar Man and Mr. Tanner, but be careful, it could just as easily be you.

    "If you're going to write you better have somewhere to come from." Flannery O'Connor

  3. #3
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    Couldn't put this book down. Harris is a very good story teller and the story she sets out to tell is a fun, intriguing and clever one. She does not mind poking a little fun at the Church and the religious as well as at all our human weaknesses.

    Warning: Be prepared for a sudden increase in your chocolate consumption during and after the read!

    8/10 KitKats!
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”

  4. #4
    Searching for..... amalia1985's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Athens, Greece
    It was rather good, I think. I still cannot forget the wonderful descriptions of chocolates, and Joanne Harris' writing is always enjoyable. 9/10!
    None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free.

  5. #5
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    grad school in upstate NY
    I just devoured this book this weekend. I simply couldn't put it down. I do have two remaining questions:

    1) In the end, Vianne says she knows what she'll name her unborn daughter (by Roux). Anyone know what the name is? I've speculated it might be Sylvianne - Vianne's "real" name, since we learned that she might've been Sylviane Caillou who was kidnapped in Paris and never found. Or it might be Armande or Josephine. Or perhaps her mother's name? (Do we ever learn it?) Anyone?

    2) Was Armande Reynaud's mother? From what I understood, Reynaud's predecessor (forgot his name) had illicit sex with Reynaud's mother. Plus, Armande seems to be the only one who calls Reynaud by his first name - Francis - and knows his dark secrets. Or, if I'm wrong, does that mean the previous priest simply a lecher who had sex with several women?

    Other than that, I adored the way Harris parodied the Church. It was so ironic that Reynaud, a man of God, should be associated to the Black Man (a Satan figure in tarot) by Vianne. And Armande...who's name means "beloved of God", yet was so hated by Pere Reynaud. Guess the the joke's on him.

    A couple of random thoughts: I thought Narcisse, the gardener, had a thing for Josephine...there was a passage right after she left her husband where he brought her sea anemones and they shared an adorably awkward moment. Plus, I thought from the moment that Roux arrived that he would end up with Vianne. Oops. Also, I was really surprised to find out that this story takes place in the present day...from all the advertising I'd seen from the movie, it seems like it takes place in something like 17th-century fact, the story almost medieval. I was blown away to find references to Disneyland. It has a very timeless quality.

    The unraveling of the storyline between Vianne and her mother was handled brilliantly. It was much deeper and darker than I ever anticipated. And I think it was appropriate that the book ended so ambiguously - unclear about whether or not Vianne ever overcomes her mother's aversion to settling down.

    Finally, my favorite subplot was the reconciliation between Armande and Luc. I loved it all...the Rimbaud poems, the stuttering, Luc's eventual ability to stand up to his mother. It was all adorable.

  6. #6
    biting writer
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    Sep 2007
    when it is not pc, philly
    I saw the movie today on my new LCD television, and I guess for this experience alone the television was worth the money. This was an adorable, sensuous, cinematically stunning and nearly magical visual experience, with Judi Dench marvelously going against type, and altogether why I prefer foreign films over most American brands, with some exceptions. Harris is now on my reading list, and I hope the book stands in its own right, but the film was very nearly a masterpiece, perhaps a notch off one of the best films in the last ten years. It made me happy to be alive again.

  7. #7
    The Lost One Wanders LostPrincess13's Avatar
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    I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie. I absolutely loved it! Although, it was a bit painful looking at all those chocolate. I hope to get my hands on the book soon. It's a charming tale filled with subliminal messages about human struggle and the the dictates of an oftentimes overbearing society. It's certainly a delicious delight for chocoholics and non-chocoholics alike.
    CARPE DIEM! Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!
    -Dead Poets' Society

    - John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

  8. #8
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    I have seen the movie, but now I'm going to have to read the book. The movie was well done.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Zagreb, Croatia

    Chocolate by Joanne Harris - The dark aspect of different type of magic

    Although we all are familiar with charms of well cooked food and not once we heard about cooking as a magic, very little of us have seen this kind of a magic as a connector between events in the book and makes her content one whole.
    Two narrators of a books (The Priest and Vianne) are telling as about a story which needs to be told in the book. Two of them are looking from their own angle on a events in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. The mindset of The Priest is dark and indicates a certain psychological trauma and Vianne's mind set carries a secret when some of her lines makes you wonder what is it that made her come in this village and what makes her move abound the world so often.
    "The Chocolate" is a new contribution to a magic realism and for that the book brings a certain charms from an imaginary world to a real world.

    The story begins when the Vianne moves in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes with her daughter Anouk and opens a Chocolaterie in a time of a lent and fasting. The people of a village is not very pleased with this and finds it unappropriated but Vianne plans a "Grand Festival of Chocolate" which takes place on Easter Sunday. Vianne has a very few friends there and a lots of enemies. She begins a friendship with a "river rats", the traveling group of ramblers. Through her staying she faces with petty-bourgeois gossips, close-minded people but also with a love which she couldn't foresee.

    Even the book has her dark aspects it carries a certain warmth which follows you unaccountably through reading. For me, it is a must-have.

  10. #10
    Insane Illusionist Fountainquill's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Beyond the clouds
    I totally agree with you, Truth Teller, Chocolat is certainly a must-read and probably a must-have. The mystique of the chocolate follows all the characters throughout the book, and seems to be the trigger to solve many of their problems, too. However, I don't know how much magic I'd say there is in the book, or just mystery that surrounds the chocolate that Harris left unexplained to her readers which gives the impression of the supernatural. Still, though, an absolutely excellent book.
    ~Do not go where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail~
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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