Jaspreet Singh / May 28, 2020

Chef Kirpal Singh is riding the slow train to Kashmir With India passing by his window he reflects on his destination which is also his past a military camp to which he has not returned for fourteen year

  • Title: Chef
  • Author: Jaspreet Singh
  • ISBN: 9781608190850
  • Page: 139
  • Format: Paperback
  • Kirpal Singh is riding the slow train to Kashmir With India passing by his window, he reflects on his destination, which is also his past a military camp to which he has not returned for fourteen years.Kirpal, called Kip, is shy and not yet twenty when he arrives for the first time at General Kumar s camp, nestled in the shadow of the Siachen Glacier At twenty thousandKirpal Singh is riding the slow train to Kashmir With India passing by his window, he reflects on his destination, which is also his past a military camp to which he has not returned for fourteen years.Kirpal, called Kip, is shy and not yet twenty when he arrives for the first time at General Kumar s camp, nestled in the shadow of the Siachen Glacier At twenty thousand feet, the glacier makes a forbidding battlefield its crevasses claimed the body of Kip s father Kip becomes an apprentice under the camp s chef, Kishen, a fiery mentor who guides him toward the heady spheres of food and women.In this place of contradictions, erratic violence, and extreme temperatures, Kip learns to prepare local dishes and delicacies from around the globe Even as months pass, Kip, a Sikh, feels secure in his allegiance to India, firmly on the right side of this interminable conflict Then, one muggy day, a Pakistani terrorist with long, flowing hair is swept up on the banks of the river and changes everything.Mesmeric, mournful, and intensely lyrical, Chef is a brave and compassionate debut about hope, love, and memory set against the devastatingly beautiful, war scarred backdrop of Kashmir.

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      Published :2020-02-09T03:41:26+00:00

    About "Jaspreet Singh"

      • Jaspreet Singh

        Jaspreet Singh born 1969 is a Canadian writer.He grew up in India and moved to Canada in 1990.


    1. This is the reason we readers read, for books such as this. There seems to be a trend for inward books recently and this falls into that category. There is plot but mostly to hang thoughts and feelings on. Kip, is a Sikh working in Srinagar as an Army Chef attached to a powerful General’s house. The world outside their house is at war. He’s a quiet, contemplative man and the attention he receives is second hand, mostly associated with the heroic deeds of his soldier father. When people meet [...]

    2. NO SPOILERS:Finished: This book is good all the way through. One should read it to experience this author's writing style. It is original, very moving, sometimes disjointed, but always more is said than the simple words. The quote given below is not harsh, other portions of this book are. Don't think you will be served a syrupy treat. Much is said about countries in conflict and how the people of the conflicting sides react towards ach other. It wasn't until the very end that I realised how well [...]

    3. *Sigh* Even though I wanted to like this book, I just didn't.It started off well, weaving me into the story, wanting to know what had happened in the chef's past. But as the book progressed, it went downhill. I felt like there was so much need to take the book to a higher, cognitive version of itself that it ceased to make any sense, to me.The story is of a Sikh army chef and his reminiscing about his past experience in Kashmir - the war troubled zone. The life there, the food (of course) and th [...]

    4. While the themes and ideas behind this novel are quite important, it ended up just being an okay read for me. Perhaps I'm missing something (and I say that sincerely) but I didn't find the writing poetical or lyrical (as it was 'advertised') for the most part. And while the style is purposely informal and conversational, to me, much of it was either underwritten or overwritten, with the metaphors feeling forced. I do give lots of credit, though, to a passage about 'movies' being made in hotels t [...]

    5. Starting with the cover, this book is wonderful! The cover is breathtakingly beautiful and just transports you to northern India. The story, told by Kip, is simple in its telling, but at the same time shows the complexity of human relationships.I loved this book and highly recommend it. If you liked "Buddha's Orphans" by S. Upadhyay or "A Fine Balance" by R. Mistry, then this book is for you!

    6. I could barely get through this book. It's written in a style that some would call lyrical, but for me it's too slow-paced and convoluted. I just couldn't plod my way through and it felt like a chore to read through 250 pages. I never got a good feel for the narrator's personality as we skipped through perspective and time. He doesn't engage me and I can't relate to him in any way. In the end, I didn't care about him, his dying, his relationships, his food, nothing at all. At the end of the book [...]

    7. Singh's first novel is told by the protagonist Kirpal in flash-backs on a train trip back to Kashmir. Kirpal has agreed to prepare the wedding feast for his former General's daughter. This is a story India; of the conflict between India and Pakistan. Listen to Singh description of Beethoven's 9th:"but I have heard the music. My fear, my fury, my joy, my melancholy-everything is embedded in this piece. The Ninth is real. It penetrates my body like smells, like food. And yet: is is solid and massi [...]

    8. I thought this book, told in a spare style with that subtly rhythmic langauge one finds in books by Indian writers, to be quite good. There is a distance between the reader and the characters, as others have noted, but I thought the effect was deliberate: Kip as the narrator was himself distanced from everyone else, and we see them through his eyes. Chef is about the devastation left by war and its effects on people and on the environment. It's a sad commentary on all those trumpenting "war aims [...]

    9. Through food, we learn the stories of two military cooks. The first Chef is proud Kishen, Kip's mentor, whose strength lies in international haute cuisine. His unorthodox way of asking vegetables and fruit what they wish to become, results in extraordinary dishes. But when he makes a careless mistake, even his wonderful cooking cannot save him from reassignment to the Siachen icefields. Chef's misfortune results in a promotion for Kip. Although he has learned his kitchen skills and recipes from [...]

    10. This award winning debut novel takes many unexpected turns as it weaves a complex story of history, war, love and death. The story blends a historical and fictional account of the Indian and Pakistani territorial dispute over Kashmir. It balances the imagery of the beauty and ruins of Kashmir with the desolate, icy living conditions on the Siachen Glacier at 21,000 feet above sea level. I found the narrative layers more like that of a glacier than an onion, and the flashback style difficult to g [...]

    11. Full disclosure for purposes of this review: I won this on the giveaways, which was very cool because I really wanted to read this after hearing an interview with Jaspreet Singh on BBC's The Strand.I have never been to India. I've watched Michael Wood's series about it, but never actually set foot there. I also know nothing about Indian literature (outside of legends), so I have no idea how this book compares with current Indian literary product.It is an affecting and moving book. The kind of b [...]

    12. Jaspreet Singh's "Chef: A Novel" is haunting, lyrical and beautiful to read. It is the story of a man on his way back to Kashmir to be the chef for his old general's daughter's wedding. But. The main character, Kip, first travels to Kashmir after his father's death on the strange battlefield of Siachen Glacier. He travels to Kashmir, this beautiful place filled with sadness, to find out more regarding this resting place of his fathers and to apprentice with General Kumar's chef, Chef Kishen. He [...]

    13. [I received this Advanced Reading Copy from Bloomsbury via First-Reads program.:]Award-winning Indian-Canadian author Jaspreet Singh has written an intensely compelling story of Kip, a Sikh, who becomes an apprentice chef to military chef, Kishen, a mentor obsessed with food and women in the Kashmir area, site of the border wars between Pakistan and India. Full of the delight of good cooking and food, Kip must also deal with unpleasant things: unstable governments, military might, prison, and h [...]

    14. Is there anything more insufferable than someone else's nostalgia? Yes: someone else's fictional nostalgia, occasionally exacerbated by outbreaks of self-pity and blunt, ineffectual criticism of government hypocrisy. I enjoyed imagining the food they ate, and I would very much like to try rogan josh in both Kashmiri and Hindu styles, but I think the only reason I ended up finishing this was because it always seemed like it was almost done. Not recommended.This book further illuminated the fact t [...]

    15. Jaspreet Singh's novel Chef is a moving story centered around needless fighting, suffering, and deprivation. Deprivation of more than comfort; the deprivation of love and open expression that comes with violent conflict, in this case, between India and Pakistan.This is Kirpal Singh's story, which he tells us close to the end of his life, so the narrative jumps around in time to good effect. Kirpal, or Kip, as he is known, was General Kumar's chef, up until some fourteen years ago, and now he is [...]

    16. Singh's award-winning novel is a poem of a book reminiscent of Ondaatje'sThe English Patient. Set in Kashmir, on the border between India and Pakistan, Chef tells the story in retrospect of a young man's enlistment into the Indian Army and his training and early career as chef to one of the army's generals. Exploring several themes simultaneously - the nature of love, the Kashmiri conflict, racism, the relationship between fathers and children - Singh keeps the reader's head spinning with rich l [...]

    17. This is a really good book. The themes and plot are very well done and utterly believable, the plot twists taking you by surprise as you slowly work your way through the pivotal moments of the protagonist's life. While I'm not a fan of the style of writing (which isn't to say it's bad, just entirely unprosaic, which works really, really well for the story,) I was impressed with the way Mr Singh refused to give clean endings or answers to certain subjects, leaving them up to the reader, almost, t [...]

    18. I really enjoyed this book. Whenever an author is able to transport me somewhere and feel like I'm really there I feel they have done a good job writing. When Kip was on the train and describing it I could hear the old thing clacking away down the tracks. When he was talking about the icefield and how cold and awful it was I just felt so sad for the men there. I like that the book was believable. Nothing far out there. The only thing I would have liked was a little bit of explanation of all the [...]

    19. This beautifully written book is about a young man in India, who joins the army fighting at the Pakistan border. The story is told in flash backs as Kip travels on a train through India back to the border of Pakistan. The story has many themes on life, death, maturing, love, and war. The setting is also particularly interesting and Singh does a beautiful job describing the cultural clashes through his descriptions of food. Overall the book has a poetic quality to it, is thought provoking, and re [...]

    20. Just discovered Jaspreet Singh. 'Chef' is a quirky read and reminds me a bit - in tone - of Mohammed Hanif's, A Case of Exploding Mangoes. However, the points of view change and merge in a way that I found, at times, confusing, all first person, you have to focus hard to follow. But there are some beautiful observations like:'When does a painter know that the painting of a horse is done? I asked myself'. I also learned some interesting facts, I love that Siachen means 'place where wild roses gro [...]

    21. This book has poetry and sensory detail of food - spices and herbs as well as dishes, kitchen fragrances and sounds, and many wonderful names. Some sentences, though, are cluttered; some transitions in time and place are awkward. Chef's foreground plot held my attention (I grew fond of Kip, the main character) more than the background did. Being a Salman Rushdie fan, I found Chef a pale cousin to Rushdie's India/Pakistan/Kashmir stories, but I wanted to continue on to the end.

    22. The author infuses the book with rich descriptions of Kashmir, its people, the food, and opposing national/religious traditions. These elements incorporate into the storyline in a way that illuminates the characters and their stories. The history of the setting that is Kashmir with its beauty and tragedy comes alive thanks to Chef’s voice and observations both in the present and in reminiscence of days past. "Outside I see India passing by. I readjust my glasses. It is raining mildly, and I am [...]

    23. صدرت الطبعة المترجمة للأساتذة (سعد جواد ومحمد عوض) لهذه الرواية عن دار الرافدين للطباعة والنشر والاوزيع ، وعند زيارتي للدار ذهبت بشكل لا محدد يداي لتلقف هذه الرواية كوني مسحور جداً بأدب الشرق مستر سنغ طاهٍ (شيف) تدرب الطهو على يد استاذه الذي أنتحر على الثلج بمحاولة إنقلاب فاش [...]

    24. I don't know why I didn't like this book better. It is rambling and clear in parts, it uses a simple, lucid language that is sorely lacking in books these days, it has wonderful food metaphors, and it presents Kashmir in a different perspective. All of them are brownie points for Chef. Still, something was lacking. I expected more, maybe. I expected to understand Kip. I expected to understand his obsession with Irem. I expected Rubiya and General Kumar to have deeper secrets. I expected too much [...]

    25. First, I won this book in a GR giveaway.This book has so many faucets to it. It's like Kishen and Kirpal's dishes. I have no idea what Rogan Josh is (even after reading the ingredients and even though I dislike Indian food) but that is what this book reminds me of. So this novel is the smell of garam masala (an ingrediant in Rogan Josh and the only Indian spice mixture I am familiar with) and the sound of Kirpal's beloved Symphony no 9.Kirpal joins the army chasing his father's ghost. He leaves [...]

    26. Chef is an introspective and quietly suspenseful novel set for the most part in Kashmir and narrated by Kirpal Singh, a chef who used to be on the kitchen staff at the house of a highly respected General of the Indian Army in Kashmir. The book starts off with Kip (as he was called) traveling back after fourteen years to the conflict ridden state to prepare the wedding feast for the General’s daughter. While the train chugs past the seemingly endless stream of unknowable villages and towns dott [...]

    27. "There are two kinds of chefs in this world. Those who disturb the universe with their cooking, and those who do not dare to do so. "This book is told in two interwoven threads about 15 years apart. Kirpal 'Kip' Singh joins the Indian army and is sent to Srinigar, Kashmir as an apprentice chef in the kitchen of the commanding general in the 1980s. Kip’s father, a military hero, has died in a plane crash over the nearby Siachen glacier. Kip forms a close mentor-apprentice friendship with his im [...]

    28. I had high expectations for this book when I read the synopsis. Unfortunately, for reasons I can't quite figure out yet - it just didn't capture my interest or move me as deeply in the same way other books set in/about India/Pakistan have. While I enjoyed Kirpal's story, I just didn't feel like I was connecting with the characters as much as I have with writings by Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy, or Jhumpa Lahiri. These passages, however, stood out to me:"Perhaps my cancer is the consequence of [...]

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