The Girl with No Shadow Paperback – Large Print, May 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Harris revisits characters from 1999's bestselling Chocolat in this equally delectable modern fairy tale. More than four years have passed since Vianne Rocher pitted her enchanted chocolate confections against the local clergy's interpretation of Lent in smalltown France; since then, Vianne has renounced magic, changed her name to Yanne Charbonneau and moved with her two daughters to Paris's Montmartre district. There, Yanne embraces conformity and safety, much to the dismay of her increasingly troubled older daughter, Anouk. When Anouk becomes entranced with Zozie de l'Alba, an exotic itinerant who happens upon a job at the new shop, and the relationship grows increasingly sinister, Yanne must call up all of Vianne's powers, culinary and mystical, to save her family. Harris again structures the narrative (told in alternate chapters by Zozie, Yanne and Anouk) around a liturgical season (in this case Advent). Harris gives fans much to savor in this multilayered novel, from the descriptions (including Yanne's mouthwatering chocolate confections, Zozie's whimsical footwear and Anouk's artistic efforts) to the novel's classic, enduring theme of good vs. evil—and the difficulty of telling the difference. (Apr.)
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“A mouth-watering experience.” (Sunday Times (London) on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“Harris once again delivers a delicious urban fairy tale, where killer shoes and Aztec myths battle it out with true love and the seductive power of chocolate.” (Daily Mail (London) on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“A contemporary, razor-edged fairy tale--very dark chocolate but likely to be gobbled up.” (Kirkus Reviews on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“Engaging...colorful...Readers will savor every bite of Harris’ sensuous tale about the dark arts, dark chocolate, and lives both bitter and sweet.” (Booklist, on THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“Readers will drink up this pleasurable tale of love. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal, Starred Review, on THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“Harris gives fans much to savor in this multilayered novel, from the descriptions (including Yanne’s mouthwatering chocolate confections, Zozie’s whimsical footwear and Anouk’s artistic efforts) to the novel’s classic, enduring theme of good vs. evil-and the difficulty of telling the difference.” (Publishers Weekly on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“[A] seductive sequel.” (Good Housekeeping on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“[A] provocative sequel to Chocolat, all the sensuous delights from the chocolaterie and the magic of signs, spells and cantrips are revisited…We are held bewitched on a thrilling ride.” (Louisville Courier Journal on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“The fairy tale that Joanne Harris began years ago in Chocolat continues in The Girl With No Shadow, though the taste of this new novel is far more bittersweet...enticing.” (Daily News (New York) on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“Magic and fantasy are at the heart of this fascinating fairy tale for adults.” (Deseret News on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“[A] sweetly enthralling sequel to her 1999 hit, Chocolat...Harris serves up a darkly delightful novel that could as easily be sold in a confectionery as a bookstore.” (USA Today on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“A rich, dark confection.” (Christian Science Monitor on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
“[B]eguilingly tasty. (Richmond Times-Dispatch on GIRL WITH NO SHADOW)
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Top Customer Reviews
The questionable Zozie could pass for the old Vianne with her bohemian attitude, bon-bon colored costumes and her uncanny ability to tantalize the Parisian shoppe's clientele with their "favorite" confection. Impressed with the latent supernatural talent possessed but untried by now preteen Anouk, Zozie intends to manipulate Vianne's lapse into conformity to her own advantage by mimicking Vianne's own gentle yet paranormal methods of persuasion.Read more ›
This book has to be read very carefully. There are no fillers. The sentences carry meaning and the language is beautiful. Details are important.
The character of Zozie is not just the negative side of Vianne. The energy, the attraction, the seduction of the chocolate store, was originally carried forward by Vianne, but since she came to Paris, she lost it all. This is a warning. Abandoned posts are going to be occupied. Don't let us abandon the posts!
How well the authoress knows life! The problems of teenage children at school are obviously everywhere the same. The cliques, which engage in excluding others; is it the desire for exclusiveness, or a tool of torture? Because, as Harris writes-children are knives. They don't mean to do so, but they cut.
I have only two objections to this marvelous book.
1. The phantasmagoria towards the end is, somehow, in a different spirit in comparison with the rest of the book. It is too much, whereas the whole book was gearing up for balance.
2.The real mother of Vianne appears suddenly, as if the author wanted to have Vianne's story finished and wrapped up. We, certainly, have known about her before, and that Vianne was abducted, but there was only one mention of this in the previous book, and of some newspaper cuttings in the present book. Yet, there are endless mentions of the woman who brought Vianne up, her instructions, her customs.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Although it's a sequel to Chocolat, The Girl With No Shadow is not Chocolat II. It is a darker, grittier story of mothers and daughters, love and loss. Although readers may expect the same Disneyesque charm of the first novel, this contemporary fairy-tale is more in the vein of the Brothers Grimm. My only quibble is I missed the zest of earlier Vianne during most of the story. The villain was a much more compelling creation. Nevertheless, fans who want to follow the characters from Chocolat will enjoy this book.
Joanne Harris has a true knack for narrating the yin and yang in life. She did an amazing job in Chocolat and continues to do so in Lollipop Shoes. Her characters are wonderfully developed and very realistic. I do recommend reading Chocolat first if you want the background of the main characters going into this novel. My interest was held from the first page to the last.
When Ms. Harris uses food in the titles of her books, you are in for a feast. Bon appetit!
The novel is told from the (confusing) viewpoint of three different characters: Vianne, Anouk, and Zozie de l'Alba in a narrow timeframe ranging from October 31 to December 24. At times, the three are commenting on events happening on the same day. Vianne's past literally comes back to haunt her in the form of the mysterious Zozie, and the young Anouk is sliding into perilous teenage rebellion, hanging out in cemeteries and engaging in forbidden acts of magic.
The cast of characters is too large to be explored in detail, and even the appearance of an old friend from the original novel is lost in the fray. Having three narrators fails to solidify the action, and it took me a few chapters to clue in that different characters were narrating (the images at the top of the chapters are different for each character). Flashbacks were to actions not covered in the original novel, and the frequent time travel left me confused at the all-too-important omissions of pivotal earlier events such as the birth of Vianne's second child, Rosette, who at four is non-verbal and quite possibly autistic.
Although the descriptions of chocolates are mouthwatering, too often the action felt staged, stale, and not in the magical spirit of the original novel Chocolat. Make no mistake: this is no sweet Chocolat Part Deux; it's dark, gritty, and haunting, wrapped in dark secrets, past injustices, and the desire for revenge that consumes several characters at various points. It's definitely not a feel-good book, although if you enjoyed Vianne's character, you may enjoy The Girl With No Shadow. It's most definitely a reinvention of classic fairy tales for grown-ups.
If you also enjoyed Gentlemen and Players then you'll find this newest novel doubly delightful.
No, the novel is not Disneyesque; but then neither was "Chocolat" really.
More like the Talented Mr.Ripley takes a trip to the Twilight Zone and meets Harry Potter in Paris. :-)
What I found interesting was how the story was told from the perspective of three different characters, leaving you to guess for a few seconds at the beginning of each chapter as to who was now speaking.
The reader is also left tantalizingly guessing, even at the end, at just exactly how effective any of the "magic" really was, or was it all simply scheming and social engineering and the occasional fortutitous or not happenstance.
Joanne Harris has over the years honed and perfected her skills as a writer by producing an unbroken series of novels with an intriguing storyline and an engaging cast of characters. "The Girl with No Shadow" demonstrates convincingly that Ms. Harris continues to get better and better at her craft.
Yanne continues her vocation as a maker of exquisite chocolates. It's a drab life she leads, but at least she and her daughters are safe. Her shop barely ekes out a living. If it weren't for Thierry, her staid landlord, who has provided living quarters, she wouldn't be able to care for her family.
Thierry asks Yanne to marry him and although she's not in love with him, a solid family life is tempting. But she can't bring herself to agree to marriage. Undaunted, he continues with plans to renovate one of his houses for them.
Along comes Zozie de l'Alba and we know from her first words that she is up to no good. Beautiful and charming, Zozie is an attraction to impressionable Anouk. Although for some time Anouk has realized she's different from other kids, her exposure to Zozie helps her to define her special talent. She, too, is a witch.
Zozie manages to become part of the family, turns the chocolate shop into a bright, sunny place that draws customers in droves.
Just when Yanne least expects it, Roux appears from her past. Although he doesn't know it, he is Rosette's father. Even after four years, he stirs up feelings Yanne has tried unsuccessfully to bury.
Zozie's true colors emerge. Pending danger and ruin become obvious. What tactic will she use this time to alter the lives of those who have trusted her?
If you're a chocolate lover, you'll enjoy the many descriptions of making exotic confections. Joanne Harris uses an interesting technique to spin her tale in that the story is told in three voices, all in first person. It was a bit confusing at first, but I soon noticed each of the three had a unique symbol at the beginning of a chapter.
Though my reading pleasure is normally stories with realistic plots, Harris spins an intriguing yarn. The Girl with No Shadow is a fairy tale for grown-ups. The author's knowledge of chocolate is impressive and the Paris setting extraordinary. Harris's lyrical writing style is a joy and keeps the reader engaged.