(Book Review) ‘Patisserie de petit four’ by Akane Chihaya / 「西洋菓子店プティ・フール」千早茜

by Miki
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Desserts have always had the power to make me forget bittersweet memories. But in this instance, this book actually ended up reminding me of various sweets that comforted me when I was feeling down.

悲しいことがあったときに食べるデザートがもたらすつかの間の幸せ。この本を読んで、そんなほろ苦い思い出の数々を思い出しました。

The book is written in the style of connected short stories, from the viewpoint of many different characters, but all centered around the old cake shop in a residential area, loved by locals. (In Japan, it is quite common to have a local cake shop, they are usually French style cakes, with a subtle nod toward Japanese tastes. I had a go-to cake shop nearby throughout my time in Japan; both the flats I lived at in Tokyo, and my parents’ house.)

連作短編小説のスタイルで書かれているこの本は、下町の老舗ケーキ屋さんを中心に据えて、様々なキャラクターの視点で書かれています。

Patissiers, partners, colleagues, parents, friends… all come with their own concerns and bad days, but beautiful cakes can brighten your day and provide you a chance to come to the terms with yourself. This book captures those moments of happiness vividly. All the characters have their own story to tell, and I loved all of them.

パティシエ、パートナー、同僚、両親、友人…誰もがそれぞれに思い悩み、悲しい日だってある。でも、甘いケーキは生活を彩り、自分の心とゆったりと向き合う時間をつくってくれます。愛らしい登場人物たちのそんな瞬間を美しく描写した本です。

Another important element of this book is the rather detailed description of the patissier’s work. Traditional European style cakes VS historical Japanese cakes was a very interesting topic to read about, as it is definitely the case in Japan that both styles have their own fans, whereas the authenticity of the recipe is prioritized among gourmet connoisseurs. As the author mentions in one of her interviews, this book can be read as a ‘work novel’, full of the work philosophy accurately described from the viewpoint of a real patissier.

また、パティシエの働く姿の描写も多い1冊、特に昔ながらの日本のケーキの味 VS 西洋の本格的なケーキの味 について語られているのは面白い。グルメな人こそないがしろにしがちな昔ながらのケーキの良さについても考えたくなるし、小さい頃に通っていた近所のケーキ屋さんに、また足を運びたくなります。文庫版の巻末に収録された著者のインタビューでも話していますが、パティシエ視点の仕事の哲学がよくわかるストーリーで、仕事小説としても読むことができます。

It’s not only that cakes appear frequently, but this little gem of a book is like a heart-warming cake box itself. I recommend it to everyone with a sweet tooth, who needs a bit of a push in their busy daily lives!

美味しそうなケーキがたくさんでてくるだけでなく、この本そのものがケーキ箱のように気分をほっこりとさせてくれるステキな本、すべての甘党さんにおすすめしたい1冊です。

  • This book has not yet been translated into English.
  • 残念ながら、まだ英語訳は出ていません。

文春文庫 / Books Bunshun

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