A Novel

Book - 2010
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Kirpal Singh is riding the slow train to Kashmir. With India passing by his window, he reflects on his destination, which is also his past: a military camp to which he has not returned for fourteen years.
Kirpal, called Kip, is shy and not yet twenty when he arrives for the first time at General Kumar's camp, nestled in the shadow of the Siachen Glacier. At twenty thousand feet, the glacier makes a forbidding battlefield; its crevasses claimed the body of Kip's father. Kip becomes an apprentice under the camp's chef, Kishen, a fiery mentor who guides him toward the heady spheres of food and women.
In this place of contradictions, erratic violence, and extreme temperatures, Kip learns to prepare local dishes and delicacies from around the globe. Even as months pass, Kip, a Sikh, feels secure in his allegiance to India, firmly on the right side of this interminable conflict. Then, one muggy day, a Pakistani "terrorist" with long, flowing hair is swept up on the banks of the river and changes everything.
Mesmeric, mournful, and intensely lyrical, Chef is a brave and compassionate debut about hope, love, and memory set against the devastatingly beautiful, war-scarred backdrop of occupied Kashmir.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2010.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608190850
Call Number: SINGH
Characteristics: 248 p. ; 21 cm
Subjects: Jammu and Kashmir (India) -- Fiction.
Cooks -- Fiction.


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Jul 14, 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writer has an obvious love for Kashmir and presents a compassionate and subtle look at some of the untold damages created by the conflict, as seen by a young Sikh cook working for the army in Srinagar. The central presence of food and cooking was well done too. Also interesting that on the battlefield on the glacier, all that soldiers would eat were canned food...

Aug 11, 2010

I'm afraid any of this book's redeeming qualities were lost on me. I was not able to connect at all. Not to the characters or the storyline. For me, this book was just continuous rambling. I found the second half slightly more interesting than the first half, which gave me encouragement to finish it, but it is clearly not suitable for me.


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