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Chocolat | [Joanne Harris]

Chocolat

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock, especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin.
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Publisher's Summary

Try me...Test me...Taste me....

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock, especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin.

Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a "Church not Chocolate" battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate eclair?

For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance. Rich, clever, and mischievious, Chocolat is a literary feast for all senses.

©1999 Joanne Harris; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.

What the Critics Say

"A celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance." (Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (67 )
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4.6 (26 )
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Story
4.6 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    hannah wellington, New Zealand 10-30-10
    hannah wellington, New Zealand 10-30-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    8
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    Overall
    "Beautiful to listen to"

    I found this audio book to be absolutely wonderful, it is well read and the story is a classic french tale. I found myself really loving the characters and felt for them in their decisions through out the book. I now sometimes use this book to help me get to sleep, not because it is boring, far from it!! It is so soothing to listen to that on a lovely sunny day lying on my bed I can't help but get carried along with the story. I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dalila CairoEgypt 05-20-10
    Dalila CairoEgypt 05-20-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    4
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    0
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    Overall
    "a true joy"

    excellent narrator and thoughtfully written. it reflects on social aspects of believes. full of funny and interesting details. sincere and truthful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hayley roseville, NSW, Australia 04-22-09
    Hayley roseville, NSW, Australia 04-22-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Captivating"

    The most enjoyable book I've listened to. Beautifully read - in an exceptionally 'visual' way. I can't recommend this one enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Melbourne, Australia 04-01-14
    Brodie Melbourne, Australia 04-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
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    "Chocolat the land of senses"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Not really... i found the narrators voice to be to much of the same for every character


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    yes... why did vianne and roux have to have a child? Is it just me or was Vianne quite arrogant... I didn't actually like her chracter.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    as stated above the narrators voice was to much of the same for every character. to deep


    If you could take any character from Chocolat out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Giroux... he seemd the most interesting and loving character


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirsti Carp, ON, Canada 08-17-13
    Kirsti Carp, ON, Canada 08-17-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "Bittersweet but satisfying"

    I saw the movie _Chocolat_ a number of years ago, and enjoyed it very much, so I was very pleased to find out that it was actually a novel. I wasn`t disappointed.

    Joanne Harris has written a satisfying tale that hits the mark for me on almost every front. I enjoyed the plot -- which has a nice balance of humour and pathos -- and found myself intrigued by the characters, even the puritanical priest Reynaud who serves as the foil for the free-spirited Vianne Rocher. The supporting characters, mostly villagers, are well drawn and add dimension to the story. And, of course, Juliet Stevenson is a wonderful narrator who really seems to capture the spirit of the book in her reading. (I`m always amazed at her versatility in portraying characters. She seems equally able to convey a rough `river gypsy` to a priggish matron.)

    The only false note for me in the entire book is the modern day setting. The white-gloved and hatted coterie of village wives, the priest`s appalled reaction to Vianne`s loose hair, and so on, just don`t seem to fit in a context of nose rings (sported by one of the river folk) and t-shirts. The rigid social norms would, I suspect, fit better if the book was set earlier -- in the thirties to fifties perhaps.

    That having been said, it was a satisfying book to listen to, and made for a pleasant summer interlude.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results
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  • Rachel
    Anstey, United Kingdom
    11/8/08
    Overall
    "Magical."

    A wonderful story with a thread of magic running through it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Penny
    Gajoubert, France
    11/29/07
    Overall
    "Better than chocolate"

    I had already seen the film, but thought the book was much better. In contrast to another reviewer who thought she should have listened to the abridged version, I found every word of this interesting and would not have known which words could be cut out to abridge it without losing any of the gentle humour and pathos.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom
    5/21/11
    Overall
    "Simply lovely"

    Beautifully read, a real joy to listen to.

    I think I gain more from listening as then, you don't skim or speed-read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Caroline
    Perth, Perthshire, United Kingdom
    12/15/08
    Overall
    "CHOCOLAT - a wonderful magical story"

    This is such a great book - as a previous reviewer said - much better than the film which tries to tie everything up too conveniently. Juliet Stevenson once again excels in her reading, making each character unique. Her reading makes all the descriptions come alive - and I would not want to opt for the abridged version and miss all this richness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    Barry, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you liked the film ..."

    ... you'll love the book - it's so much more logical! The priest makes life as difficult as possible for Vianne and her daughter, the book explores his issues with her lifestyle.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wonky Witch -
    UK
    8/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So Much More Than the Movie!!"
    Where does Chocolat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks that I've listened to. Juliet Stevenson's narration is excellent. Chocolat is a beautifully written, gently provocative and unpredictable tale that portrays society and the human condition at its best and its worst. A fantastic audiobook all round which I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end.


    Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I've listened to Juliet Stevenson's narration of Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility. Her narration of these Classics is superb - as is her narration of Chocolat. Ms Stevenson brings all characters to life with ease. Her voice is extremely easy on the ear and she narrates with sensitivity and vitality, bringing the books to life in such a way that one's attention is totally focused on her telling of the tale, and before you know it, hours have gone by and the end of the book is nigh.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Chocolat is a very thought provoking tale. Joanna Harris brings the sights, sounds and smells of the town to one's imagination with vivid detail. The characters in the book and their interaction with each other is fascinating. In Chocolat, Joanna Harrris raises social and moral issues with sensitivity, compassion, outrage and humour. She effortlessly weaves these ethical issues into her narrative in such a way that the many facets and perspectives of such ethics are portrayed so as to present as many questions to the reader as she provides answers. For example, is stealing really immoral when it is actually a response to a greater social/moral wrong? Can stealing be seen as a cry for help or as an act of sheer desperation to control one's own life? I felt wide-ranging emotions listening to this book - joy, anger, compassion, empathy, dislike, mistrust and defiance to name but a few. This book will make you think of your own prejudices and moral stance to many things, but Chocolat is so well written that you won't realise you've done so until the book has finished and your still thinking about things days after the end.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nicole
    Forfar, United Kingdom
    7/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Chocolicious"
    Would you listen to Chocolat again? Why?

    Trying not to overdo it, this story was smooth and delicious to listen to. The storytelling got you dreaming of chocolate and with the magic the author brought into the story, it got you day dreaming of what else chocolate could achieve! The story telling was soft and gentle and this could be perfect for sitting out in garden on a summer evening to relax to. I would certainly listen to Chocolate again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There is such a mix of characters in this story that there is no one favorite character


    Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Haven't listened to any other performances but will certainly be looking out for them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The beginning of the book where the main character and daughter arrived in the small town. There was such a mystery about the town and main character that you wanted to learn more.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. V. Nicoll
    York, UK
    6/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Better than the movie"
    What did you like most about Chocolat?

    This is a wonderful tale that is well presented and well read


    What did you like best about this story?

    Though slow moving at times the story keeps you hooked as to what will happen next


    Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?

    I loved the way Juliet performed all the characters, especial Anouk


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    If you didn't love chocolat before...


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • sharon
    FALMOUTH, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "as enjoyable as a box of your favourite chocolates"

    I really do enjoy Joanne Harris books. Love the way you leave reality behind and gently step into a world that is full of enchantment dusting the everyday lives of characters you can really imagine knowing in real life.

    Chocolat is the start of a special journey if it happens to be the first of her books you read,enjoy the ride.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • C. Doughty
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Different from the film but just as good"

    A real feel-good listen. The story of how change comes to a suffocating and static village in rural France.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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