Margaux Vialleron’s debut book The Yellow Kitchen is a refreshing read, exploring adulthood and the nuances of big city living. It is a heart-warming contemporary text, playing as a reflection of the recent life we have experienced in the late 2010s. The book is told through the lenses of three young women. The protagonists in the story are Claude, of French origin and a frequent hostess; Sophie a doting creative; and Giulia, who ties the trio all together. Across the book, the reader is invited into the yellow kitchen itself and the kitchens across the trio’s narratives.
There is a certain intimacy that comes with entering someone’s home. Particularly so when entering into someone’s kitchen, where meals are made that nourish your body or dampen the heaviness of hunger. The Yellow Kitchen tells the stories of these moments. It truly highlights the importance of this space in social and personal lives, bringing representation to an often overlooked place. We can interpret Vialleron’s debut book as a love letter to kitchens in prose form.
Vialleron’s inspiration is evident within her scenarios as a French born writer. Undoubtedly, France is a country renowned for its emphasis on cuisine and love for food. If you have ever visited a mainland European market on a quiet Sunday, walking down the stretch of incredible colours and scents, The Yellow Kitchen becomes a reimagination of all of these memories. With the use of French words in the texts, it is as if Vialleron pockets secrets into the plot. The plot ties the experiences and connections between food and people – two things we interact with in our every day. The mundane everyday becomes special in this novel. Kitchens become a constant and not just a space to pass through and out of.
The Yellow Kitchen is a reminder alongside other texts such as Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen that the kitchen is a space for memories and life. It is a space to create and to consume. Vialleron’s debut book is a must read.
Margaux Vialleron additionally communicates her love for the culinary arts through her podcast, ‘The Salmon Pink Kitchen‘.
Words by Lucy Vo
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