Saturday, July 16, 2011

JLit Preview: 'The Restaurant of Love Regained' by Ito Ogawa

Original title: 食堂かたつむり
(Shokudou Katatsumuri)
Translated from the Japanese by David Karashima
Fiction, Published in Japan in 2008
(English translation, 2011)
Alma Books, trade pb, 193 p.
Book blurb:
An extraordinary novel about food, love and the relationship between mother and daughter.

Returning home from work, Rinko is shocked to find that her flat is totally empty. Gone are her TV set, fridge and furniture, gone are all her kitchen tools, including the old Meiji mortar she has inherited from her grandmother and the Le Creuset casserole she has bought with her first salary. Gone, above all, is her Indian boyfriend, the maître d’ of the restaurant next door to the one she works in. She has no choice but to go back to her native village and her mother, on which she turned her back ten years ago as a fifteen-year-old girl.

There she decides to open a very special restaurant, one that serves food for only one couple every day, according to their personal tastes and wishes. A concubine rediscovers her love for life, a girl is able to conquer the heart of her lover, a surly man is transformed into a lovable gentleman – all this happens at the The Snail, the magic restaurant whose delicate food can heal any heartache and help its customers find love again.
I'm currently reading this and quite enjoying it. In fact, reading it is making me hungry! The main character, Rinko, makes some wonderful-sounding dishes in this book, from Indian curry, to her grandmother's traditional homemade pickles, to rich tiramisu, to blowfish sashimi to... well you get the idea. I wish it were an actual restaurant that I could visit!

This book has also been compared to Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I haven't read the latter, but it's definitely a foodie book. So if you're interested in cooking, with a dash of Japanese food and culture, I think you just might like this book too. As such it's also a good book to mention for Weekend Cooking, a weekly blogging event hosted by Beth Fish Reads to share any cooking adventures or food-related posts.
Weekend Cooking
For more information, and to read an excerpt from The Restaurant of Love Regained, visit the Alma Books website.

Buy The Restaurant of Love Regained at: | |

The small print: This book was received free of charge from the publisher for review purposes. Links in this post to Amazon or The Book Depository contain my Associates or Affiliates ID respectively. Purchases made via these links earn me a very small commission. For more information please visit my About Page.


  1. There are quite a few foodie novels at the moment, I think.

    I have Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum for review - a nonfiction novel actually.

    Anyway, I love books about food, so this sounds really nice too. Does it have recipes?

  2. I've actually heard of the Japanese title. It's been made into a film recently, right? One of my friends said it's really good:)

  3. As I am currently lusting over some Le Creuset ware, that bit with her boyfriend taking it really made me angry on her behalf! This sounds like a really interesting novel, I'll have to keep my eyes out for it.

  4. It sounds pretty interesting! I'm usually not that interested in foodie books, but I'm intrigued by the plot of this one.

  5. This looks so fantastic! I have too many foody books I want to read now! LOL

  6. What an intriguing concept for a restaurant, and a novel. Thanks!

  7. Never heard of this one before, love the cover!
    Here's My WC

  8. Ooooh, I had that story as a nightmare, last night -- coming home to an empty house, all my things stolen. I love the sound of this storyline, even though the beginning sounds nighmarish. And, the cover. Not sure, but I think it's the dress that's catching my eye. I am so shallow.

  9. This sounds like a good foodie read. I like foodie reads but they can make one hungry. I'll keep my eye out for this book.

  10. I like reading food-centered novels, and I would like to learn more about Japanese culture, so I will check this one out, thanks :)

  11. This looks fabulous! I do love reading foodie books.

  12. I will be adding this to my ever growing reading list :)

  13. I read Like Water for Chocolate several years ago & remember quite liking it.

    I'm putting The Restaurant of Love Regained on my TBR list!

    Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  14. I loved Like Water for Chocolate so I bet I'd like this one too. This is a new to me book, but I'll be looking for it.

  15. Hi, Owl59 from Twitter.

    I just reserved this novel from the local library. I am looking forward to reading it. (I am somewhat surprised this was translated into English because even though it wass sold pretty well, this book was not so well known like books by Banana, or by Yoko Ogawa)

    Yes, this has been made into the movie, which I have not watched yet.

  16. have got kitchen on my bookshelf, so will read that first.

  17. I've never heard of Ito Ogawa, but I really did enjoy "Kitchen" by Banana Yoshimoto, so maybe... ;)

  18. oh my gosh, this sounds SO GOOD!

  19. This sounds like an amazing book! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  20. A foodie book eh? Sounds very enticing :P Would love to get one of these!


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