Tag Archives: french translation

Little Culinary Triumphs by Pascale Pujol. Translated from the French by Alison Anderson.

Little Culinary Triumphs Title: Little Culinary Triumphs
Author: Pascale Pujol
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson
Publisher: Europa Editions
ISBN: 978-1609454906
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Little Culinary Triumphs is a book that will delight you. It is funny, and will leave you with the feeling of wanting to get up and hug someone. At least, I felt that way at the end of it. It is a whimsical book, it is also profound at times (rarely though), all in all it is the perfect book to be read when feeling down and about.

The story takes place in Montmartre – multi-ethnic neighbourhood, where cultures meet, mingle, and sometimes collide as well. It is the place perfect for the senses – all of them actually, but more so when it comes to the taste buds. Sandrine, one of the central characters, works in an employment office, helping people find jobs. Under this surface is a world-class cook waiting to blossom and realize her dream of opening a restaurant. A bunch of weird and eccentric characters come together, thanks to Sandrine to open the restaurant – Antoine, an unemployed professor; the giant Senegalese, a magical chef, a psychologist, and a Kama Sutra expert as well. In all of this, is a newspaper magnate, upto no good at all.

Pujol’s prose is hilarious. It sneaks up quite cleverly on you. Till I reached page 75, I was of the opinion that this book isn’t going anywhere at all. I was proved so wrong after that and I am so glad I was. The writing is crisp, delicious, and leaves you with this aftertaste that I just cannot describe. Yes, I used food adjectives, but that’s what the book is all about anyway – food, food, and more food.

I am a fan of Alison Anderson’s translations. From Muriel Barbery to J.M.G. Le Clézio, her translations are spot-on. It is as though she gets the pulse of the original to the very last detail and as a reader, I am never left wanting more or wondering how it would’ve read in the original language. Little Culinary Triumphs is a novel that will make you laugh, chuckle, and understand a minuscule bubble of a universe of oddballs, who eventually grow to understand and sometimes even like each other.




Women by Philippe Sollers

Trailing clouds of continental glory, a French success warmly welcomed in England, “Women” may be the first pointillist post-feminist novel. Eschewing complete sentences as a dreary bourgeois convention, Philippe Sollers uses triple dots as the all-purpose punctuation mark. At an average of, let’s say, 125 per page, that idiosyncrasy adds up to approximately 80,000 for a book of this length.

Dots . . . Of course, Seurat used dots to create spectacular neo-impressionist paintings, so there is a definite precedent for this artistic experiment. Writers have been slow to follow suit, perhaps because the technique requires that the work be viewed at a distance of at least 10 feet–easy enough when one is looking at a painting, considerably more demanding when reading a book. Perused from a mere foot away, even a masterpiece like “Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” turns into confetti.

Read in the usual way, “Women” splinters into frank pornography. Considered in perspective, it’s easily the most ferociously misogynist tract since John Knox’s “First Blasts of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” in 1558. Unlike Knox, who was merely inveighing against Mary Queen of Scots, Sollers is attacking the entire sex. Arrogant, emotionally frigid and pathologically self-indulgent, the narrator continually marvels at his own sexual prowess and its magical effect upon the women he treats with such contempt, loathing his conquests for adoring him.


The protagonist of this first-person diatribe is Will, an expatriate American journalist living and working in France. His sexual odyssey takes him all over the world . . . a paranoid Priapus compulsively jetting to his own destruction.

Women; Sollers, Philippe; Rupa and Co; Rs. 395