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Stanley Park [Paperback]

Timothy Taylor
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 11 2001
A young chef who revels in local bounty, a long-ago murder that remains unsolved, the homeless of Stanley Park, a smooth-talking businessman named Dante — these are the ingredients of Timothy Taylor's stunning debut novel — Kitchen Confidential meets The Edible Woman.

Trained in France, Jeremy Papier, the young Vancouver chef, is becoming known for his unpretentious dishes that highlight fresh, local ingredients. His restaurant, The Monkey's Paw Bistro, while struggling financially, is attracting the attention of local foodies, and is not going unnoticed by Dante Beale, owner of a successful coffeehouse chain, Dante's Inferno. Meanwhile, Jeremy's father, an eccentric anthropologist, has moved into Stanley Park to better acquaint himself with the homeless and their daily struggles for food, shelter and company. Jeremy's father also has a strange fascination for a years-old unsolved murder case, known as "The Babes in the Wood" and asks Jeremy to help him research it.

Dante is dying to get his hands on The Monkey's Paw. When Jeremy's elaborate financial kite begins to fall, he is forced to sell to Dante and become his employee. The restaurant is closed for renovations, Inferno style. Jeremy plans a menu for opening night that he intends to be the greatest culinary statement he's ever made, one that unites the homeless with high foody society in a paparazzi-covered celebration of "local splendour."

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Product Description

From Amazon

Aspiring food artiste Jeremy Papier, in Timothy Taylor's debut novel, Stanley Park, attempts to juggle the finances of his fledgling eatery, The Monkey's Paw, and his conflicted feelings about his attractive sous-chef. Meanwhile, on the other side of downtown Vancouver, his anthropologist father camps out in Stanley Park to study a group of homeless men. Impending financial ruin drives Jeremy into the clutches of an evil coffee magnate while his father delves deeper into the indigent lifestyle, probing the mystery of two dead children once found in the park as well as his failed marriage to Jeremy's mother. A tragicomic denouement takes the characters back to their human roots as hunter-gatherers in the 21st century.

The big idea in Stanley Park is that global corporate culture threatens the local connections that sustain us. Only the outcasts in Stanley Park retain these connections, and one of them imparts to Jeremy the secret of trapping a swan: "'Stinky box does it,' Caruzo informed, scratching himself. 'Stinky box is all.'" He retrieves a discarded hot dog shipping box and explains the technique: "'I distract him.' Caruzo said. 'You kill him. Distract. Kill.'" Though our hero cannot bring himself to dispatch the bird, he understands the basic link with nature. Stanley Park isn't Crime and Punishment and doesn't pretend to be, even if the vocabulary is sometimes a little pretentious. Taylor, who won the 2000 Journey Prize for his short fiction, tells a good story, creating plausible characters for this coming-of-age narrative and making a good start to a novelistic career. --Robyn Gillam --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

What's local in a world that is becoming one global monoculture? That's the question confronting Jeremy Papier, the Vancouver chef at the center of Taylor's comic debut novel. Jeremy divides chefs into two types: the transnational Crips, who mix, say, Chilean farm-bred salmon and kimchi, without compunction; and Bloods, who are purists, stubbornly local in their food choices. Along with his friend Jules Capelli, another Blood, Jeremy runs the Monkey's Paw Bistro, making meals from mostly local ingredients for local foodies. Storm clouds lie on the horizon, however. Jeremy is deep in debt. To get by, he scams some $2,000 with the aid of Benny, a customer-turned-girlfriend. The scam backfires, and Jeremy has to turn to Dante Beale, an old family friend and the owner of a national chain of coffee houses, for money. Dante redesigns the bistro, turning it into a potential Crip palace. Jules is fired. Jeremy, under contract, remains. Turning for solace to his father, an anthropologist whose major project is living with the homeless in Stanley Park, Jeremy is reluctantly drawn into his father's work and the investigation of a decades-old mystery involving two children killed in the park. Along the way, he becomes fascinated by cooking for the homeless, and the joys of preparing squirrel, raccoon and starlings carry him into a glorious prank, which he plays at the opening of Beale's redesigned bistro. Taylor has written a sort of cook's version of the anti-WTO protests, striking a heartfelt and entertaining blow against conformity.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun reading Oct. 30 2006
This was a good book to read. It blurs that line between fact and fiction just enough that you are, at times left scratching your head trying to determine what's real and what isn't. Plus, for those of you who live in the Vancouver area, there are enough references to local landmarks that you'll feel right at home. Throw in a dash of mystery and excitement, and you have the makings of a great book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Anyone interested in cooking should read this book. The back-of-house descriptions are interesting in the same way as 'Kitchen Confidential'. The bonus is that there is a murder mystery embedded in this book. The Bloods and Crips thing is very interesting, as is the startup of a big-time gourmet resturant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a foodie paradise, but worth picking up. Jan. 16 2007
By Rhia P
Take a hot young chef, a slightly potty professorial father living in Stanley Park and researching its inhabitants, a coffee baron a-la-Starbucks, a sous-chef, and a social climber, and you get Timothy Taylor's Stanley Park.

He's thrown in an unsolved murder of two young children for good measure, and made only the slightest attempt to tie it all together.

There are good scenes, it's about food (though the foodie stuff didn't ring very true to me, it did to a chef friend of mine, so there you have it), it's about bucking the establishment, it's about compassion.

But it's also about nothing, and so it took me a long time to read it because I never really got into it, and didn't really enjoy it. So yes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Jan. 22 2007
By PGrout
Taylor has a very easy, free-flowing style of writing and I found Stanley Park to be one of my most enjoyable reads in a long time. There are many different levels to this novel and I found each to be equally intriguing. Previous reviewers suggested it would appeal to "Foodies" (silly term) but I dont think I agree with that. I feel that those who have worked or still work in the restuarant business would relate to many sections of this novel but food is only one small aspect of this story.

If you are one of those who can let yor mind meander through the pages of a novel, then this is a novel for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great new writer May 14 2002
Taylor is a truly gifted writer and Stanley Park does not disappoint. I picked this book up when I was vacationing in Vancouver and even after I returned home, I was able to relive my stay there through this book.. If you are a fan of Vancouver, cooking, or great literature, pick this one up. Taylor also has an impressive book of short stories called Silent Cruise but I believe that you can only purchase this one in Canada. I was able to order it from (a Canadian book store).
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4.0 out of 5 stars A surprising story Dec 13 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is definitely used and in fair to above fair in terms of condition. It is a good story, though, and I have read it some years ago and enjoyed it.
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