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The Cook (Valancourt 20th Century Classics)…
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The Cook (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) (original 1965; udgave 2023)

af Harry Kressing (Forfatter)

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976275,964 (4.29)2
First Published in 1991. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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Viser 1-5 af 6 (næste | vis alle)
Conrad the cook comes to town and effortlessly manipulates people with his food. It's like an evil [b:Chocolat|47401|Chocolat (Chocolat, #1)|Joanne Harris|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388674628s/47401.jpg|2930558]. Things start off deliciously nasty, peaking with an amazing knife fight halfway through. But it lags toward the end. The problem is how doltish the town is, how Conrad is alone in his intelligence. He has everyone (literally) eating out of the palm of his hand by page 30. The result is a little like playing a video game with cheat codes, there's no challenge anymore. [b:Needful Things|107291|Needful Things|Stephen King|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1315767817s/107291.jpg|1812101] also had the devil come into town as a small time professional, but King was sure to have a group of wary mortals oppose him.
Two points in its favor: first, the book never reveals what Conrad is or what his motivations are. It gets tantalizingly close but then pulls away. The only thing crystal clear about Conrad is that he wants access to the big castle, he's ruthless to his rivals, and that when he can he eats and eats and eats. It's as though he operates on blind instinct alone. This combined with his "beak-like" hook nose gives him a bestial quality. If this is frustrating it is a deliberate frustration, it maximizes his menace. The other point in its favor is the terrifically bizarre ending, showing what happens when a dog finally catches up to the car its chasing. ( )
  ethorwitz | Jan 3, 2024 |
“He was a kind of person they had never encountered before. He seemed to be without emotion, without anger. Perfectly calm and collected. He had pinioned Brogg to the table with no change of expression. And so firmly that no one could release him. And now he held a great, wicked-looking cleaver in his hand. No one felt like crossing Conrad. No one would take it upon himself to come between Conrad and his victim.”

—The Cook by Harry Kressing

What I’d thought to be a powerful instance of foreshadowing to some serious brutality and darkness ended up being the pivotal scene in the book. So I was a bit disappointed at the slow slide to the finish instead of messy calamity. However, this cult classic of a virtually unknown work by a just as unknown writer (published under a pseudonym, even) was still affecting, unsettling and fun as a kitchen set piece turned weird gothic thriller. I’m not even sure if the setting’s America or Britain or Continental Europe—and that only feeds the dark ambiguity. It certainly was fun to read aloud to the wife while she prepared our dinners. And the main character was genuinely fascinating and creepy. (Was he the protagonist? Antagonist?) But that “knife fight” in the pub was so gut-wrenching and terrifying that I can’t help wonder how abyssal this work could’ve gone. I certainly won’t forget it anytime soon; just like a perfectly cooked meal with elements you’re not altogether acquainted with. ( )
  ToddSherman | Aug 24, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book! Conrad, the cook from the title, is a wonderful character - cunning, manipulative, and, dare I suggest?, evil. I loved the subtlety of his plans and discretion with which he executed them! Fun read! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
This was a really weird, weird book. A cook comes into town and basically takes over with his power of charisma, except he lacks charisma in the traditional sense and does a lot of his persuading with food. There's also a weird focus on people gaining and losing a lot of weight. The change in control of the house is subtle and not stated explicitly, which I liked a lot - the reader is trusted to work this out for themselves, though it becomes fairly obvious by the end of the book.

The cook, Conrad, is left pretty ambiguous, never really given any sort of background or indication of motive aside from the obvious. I liked this as well.

It was a quick read, a little less horror-themed than the cover would have you believe and more of a bizarre... social satire maybe? I'm not even sure that's right, but it was more funny in a black way than it was scary. ( )
  ConnieJo | Jul 2, 2008 |
Is it a fable? Is it straightforward fiction? Is it a fairy tale? It's unforgettable, whatever it is. A mysterious stranger comes to town and takes it over - all through of his culinary expertise. The mysterious Kressing creates an alternative world full of bizarre characters. Please don't let my bad review put you off - you should definitely read this. ( )
  LadyMuck | May 21, 2008 |
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