This book, written before The Elegance of the Hedgehog but released after it in the United States, centers on one of the minor characters in that book, the restaurant critic Pierre Arthens. Totally self-centered, he has alienated his children and almost everyone else who has contact with him. The chapters alternate between the viewpoint of the critic and the viewpoints of others, including his cat and a work of art in his office. In the final hours of his life he tries to remember a flavor that was critical to his career. The book deals with themes of social class and philosophy, like Hedgehog did, but does not meet the standard of that second, more successful book.
My rating: ** (out of 5)