A son remembers his relationship with his difficult but loving late father through a quest to find his missing recipe book, in a weepy but heart-warming debut novel by French journalist Jacky Durand.
As Julien sits by his bedside, he knows that his father - the legendary cook Monsieur Henri - doesn't have long left. For years, his father has run the Relais Fleuri, a French bistro, born of his father's exacting, but unpretentious love for food.
Now, as he prepares to say goodbye, Julien becomes obsessed with finding his father's notebook where he wrote down his recipes: the only record of his culinary secrets. In this quest, Julien delves into the memories of his relationship with his father, the strained but fierce love they shared for each other, and their mutual passion for food. Julien also remembers Helene, the mother who inexplicably abandoned them when he was just a boy.
But his father's recipes weren't the only secrets he kept, and now that he's gone, it's up to Julien to uncover them - and in the process remember his difficult, proud, coarse, generous and exceptional father.
A beautiful novel about love, which allows itself to be savoured like a good meal - Le Parisien