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Part of Emile Zolas multigenerational Rougon-Macquart saga, The Belly of Paris is the story of Florent Quenu, a wrongly accused man who escapes imprisonment on Devils Island. Returning to his native Paris, Florent finds a city he barely recognizes, with its working classes displaced to make way for broad boulevards and bourgeois flats. Living with his brothers family in the newly rebuilt Les Halles market, Florent is soon caught up in a dangerous maelstrom of food and politics. Amid intrigue among the markets sellersthe fishmonger, the charcutire, the fruit girl, and the cheese vendorand the glorious culinary bounty of their labors, we see the dramatic difference between fat and thin (the rich and the poor) and how the widening gulf between them strains a city to the breaking point.
Translated and with an Introduction by the celebrated historian and food writer Mark Kurlansky, The Belly of Paris offers fascinating perspectives on the French capital during the Second Empireand, of course, tantalizing descriptions of its sumptuous repasts.
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