The Lady, the Chef, and the Courtesan - JOIN THE BOOKRING!

by Marisol | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0060530421 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Amorae of Ottawa, Ontario Canada on 12/31/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Amorae from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, December 31, 2003
What is it about South American women that makes them so alluring to men and such a mystery to other women? Could it be that they’ve simply been blessed with good genes? Or is there something more beneath the surface; secrets passed down through generations that enable Latin women to maintain an air of allure and sensual beauty throughout their entire life?

Pilar Castillo is twenty-six years old, and she feels trapped between two very different cultures. She was born in Venezuela, a place where her entire family still resides, and where she’s expected to return when she finally gets past the “flight of fancy” that has brought her to America. Yet she likes her new life in Chicago. She has a good job as a business reporter with The Chicago Tribune, and she’s dating Patrick Russo, an all-American photographer who is charming and easy-going, and who her mother heartily disapproves of. “Pilar, por Dios, can’t you see there’s nothing more to him?” her mother would say. In fact, her entire family is pushing her to marry Rafael Uslar – a successful, if arrogant and flirtatious Venezuelan lawyer she was once engaged to.

What’s a girl to do when she’s being pulled in so many different directions? Just as Pilar is starting to feel overwhelmed by everything going on around her, another event occurs which makes her question whether she’ll be able to get through everything life is throwing her way. Her grandmother, Gabriela, dies. Pilar and Gabriela were extremely fond of one another: kindred souls who shared a bond through their independence and unwillingness to conform to expectations. Gabriela’s last gift to her favorite granddaughter is her legacy: three leather-bound volumes that hold the key to a South American woman’s secrets. By reading these diaries, Pilar learns how to be “a lady in the living room, a chef in the kitchen, and a courtesan in the bedroom”.

THE LADY, THE CHEF AND THE COURTESAN is elegantly written, and full of wit, charm and insight into a culture that still seems to be frozen in another time. There are many lessons to be learned from reading this book, and although the advice may sound dated at times - “a husband wandering around the kitchen could signify only one thing: his wife had failed miserably in her duties” – it also offers a refreshingly open look at relationships, and the gender roles that many of us still play in our daily lives.

Beneath the words of wisdom and glimpses into Latin culture lies a deeper probing into the nature of all women, their hopes and desires, and the many expectations which are placed around them by their families and society as a whole. Through Gabriela’s diaries, readers will come to recognize along with Pilar that being a woman is indeed a rare gift, one that should be cherished and continually worshiped. Beauty rituals and feminine secrets are divulged at length throughout the novel, and I often found myself smiling at the ancient wisdom offered in the guise of a fictional account.

Marisol has played many different roles throughout her lifetime, such as those of “fashion model, banker, belly dancer, chef, aerobics and college language instructor, and most recently, a public relations professional”. Her large variety of experiences, as well as her Venezuelan background gives THE LADY, THE CHEF AND THE COURTESAN an air of authenticity. This is an eloquent, lyrical novel which shouldn’t be missed by any woman wanting a deeper look at uncovering the secrets to her femininity.

Journal Entry 2 by Amorae from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, December 31, 2003
The book is heading out on a journey! If you're interested in participating, please PM me. I'll do my best to take into consideration all shipping preferences. :)

Please journal when you receive the book, and then once again after you've read it. PM the next person on the list for his/her address when you're ready to pass it along. Thanks, and enjoy!

Current Order:

1. jawin– (Australia)
2. chaoscat60– (Arizona)
3. beautyredefined – (Wisconsin)
4. indymomto2 – (Indiana)
5. Cafemundo – (Maine)
6. MarciNYC – (New Jersey)
7. DrNoelle– (New York)
8. vicki9170 – (Florida) <-- Currently Reading
9. ryanreader – (Florida)
10. symphonicca – (Canada)
11. Wandeca – (Canada)
12. Back to me - Tyressia – (Canada)

Journal Entry 3 by Amorae at Fellow BookCrosser in Postal release, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Release planned for Thursday, January 08, 2004 at Fellow BookCrosser in Postal release, Postal Release Controlled Releases.

The BookRing has started! THE LADY, THE CHEF AND THE COURTESAN is on its way to jawin - enjoy! :)

Journal Entry 4 by jawin from Launceston, Tasmania Australia on Sunday, January 18, 2004
This arrived today. I'll move it to the top of Mt TBR and try and get it finished to send next week.

Journal Entry 5 by jawin from Launceston, Tasmania Australia on Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Hard to decide what I think of this. Its either a brilliant piece of feminist writing - or a light and patronising piece of fluff.

Be interested to see what others think.

Journal Entry 6 by jawin from Launceston, Tasmania Australia on Monday, February 02, 2004
sent to chaoscat60 today

Journal Entry 7 by chaoscat60 from Tucson, Arizona USA on Sunday, February 29, 2004
I enjoyed this book, it came to me from
Down Under. Now I need to pass it on again. I was hoping Tyressa would let me know who's next on the list, or does it go back to her!

Journal Entry 8 by beautyredefined from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Monday, March 15, 2004
Just got this book in the mail, and have started reading it. It's looking good so far!

Journal Entry 9 by beautyredefined from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Thursday, March 25, 2004
Like jawin said earlier, I'm not entirely sure what to think about it, but I think it slightly redeems itself towards the end. The beginning few chapters really put me off to the book, since I disagree with many of the social views about women that were put forward. However, I understand the historical reference and how women existed in those days, yet it still didn't sit too well.

I was surprised by the graphic and explicit sexual detail. I expected some, but some of this here seemed out of place - almost added in un-necessarily.

In spite of all this, I think I began to enjoy it toward the end. Gabriela's story of love and loss is amazing, and one I think can learn from. You need to be true to your heart, and live your life according to your wishes, not the wishes friends and family impose on you. In addition to being eloquently told, it flows quickly; due to the way it's told, you don't feel too bogged down with extraneous words and it's tone is conversational - all words from a grandmother to her niece. This book also makes it easy to feel with the characters. You mourn for Gabriela and you yearn for Pilar to find what she wants and make the right decisions. So in all, I think it's a great story, but bits of it are wrapped in shallow fluff.

I'm sending it off to indymomto2 today!

Journal Entry 10 by indymomto2 from Indianapolis, Indiana USA on Monday, April 05, 2004
Received in the mail as bookring. Will start reading when I'm done with the book I'm currently on.

Journal Entry 11 by indymomto2 from Indianapolis, Indiana USA on Wednesday, April 14, 2004
After reading the previous journal entries I was expecting some dated views on the role of women and sure enough they were there! However I did enjoy reading this book as it gave a view of a culture and a time that is much different than what I am familiar with.

I will forward to Cafemundo this weekend when I go to the post office.

Journal Entry 12 by Cafemundo from Wilton, Maine USA on Friday, April 30, 2004
Received the book today...will start reading it
this evening and journal again when I'm finished.
Thanks Indymomto2!

Journal Entry 13 by Cafemundo from Wilton, Maine USA on Tuesday, May 04, 2004
This was a fast, captivating read for me. Somehow,
I had expected a more profound story that would parallel the writings of Laura Esquivel, Christina Garcia, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, or Isabel Allende...all much better writers if you're interested in the culture. I could relate to all of it even though I was brought up in a more 'Americanized' Latin American culture in Miami. Reading about Gabriela reminded me of my own Abuela giving me much of the same advise but leaving out the explicit carnal details. So many women, in every culture, have to sacrifice to save the honor of their families and give up their true identity in the process. This could have been a tele-novela or a movie on Lifetime TV. I agree with Jawin ... great feminist writing or light fluff...could go either way. I'm making it my first summer novel because it was warm and sunny in my backyard last weekend while I was reading this.

Tyressia, thanks so much for sharing this with us!
Sending to MarciNYC next...!

Journal Entry 14 by MarciNYC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, May 14, 2004
Another ring/ray book that I had forgotten about! Nonetheless, I'm anxious to start reading this. I have one more before this to finish, but I should have this read and mailed to the next on the list in a couple weeks. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 15 by MarciNYC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, June 02, 2004
I was pretty annoyed with the antiquated view of "how to catch a man" for the better half of the book, but based on others' comments, I kept reading. I was a little teary-eyed at the end - it's not a sad ending, yet it's not happily ever after either. It wasn't a book that grabbed me and I think my overall impression is similiar to that of others - either great feminist writing or utter fluff.

I will be sending this on to DrNoelle in the next day or so.

Journal Entry 16 by DrNoelle from Brooklyn, New York USA on Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Received from MarciNYC. It's next on my list TBR!

Journal Entry 17 by DrNoelle from Brooklyn, New York USA on Friday, July 16, 2004
Would that all our grandmothers would leave us the wisdom for a successful life (both the accepted, staid version, and the secret, happy version).

Our young heroine takes the Latina secrets from her grandmother, and conquers the heart of her man. Maybe not the one her mother wanted to have as a son-in-law, but this is Pilar's life to live.

Journal Entry 18 by DrNoelle from Brooklyn, New York USA on Friday, July 16, 2004
Next heading to Vicki9170 as soon as I can get to the post office.

Journal Entry 19 by vicki9170 from St. Petersburg, Florida USA on Monday, August 09, 2004

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