Despite the title, there’s no cooking in Laurence Cossé’s fine, actually rather wonderful novel, BITTER ALMONDS. I loved her book A NOVEL BOOKSTORE, published last year – a literary thriller about books and bookshops, it managed to be nostalgic and forward-thinking at the same time.
This one is more delicate. A bookish translator volunteers to teach her 70-year-old Moroccan cleaner how to read. Words on a page: so easy to take for granted. But life without them clearly fascinated Cossé. The result is an intriguing, fact-filled study of life as an immigrant on the edge of society.