For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’
Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.
In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.
But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…
A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!
The Artic Curry Club is a beautifully engaging book that deals with some heart wrenching issues within its storyline but is ultimately a feel good story about finding yourself and your “tribe”. When Maya accompanies her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, she has no idea of what awaits them there. While Ryan works, she tries to hide the anxiety that has always been part of her life whilst taking a job working as a chef-a career she has struggled with due to her mental health issues in the past. But when a customer asks for a curry, it sends Maya to her late mums recipe book and through its pages she discovers things about herself and revelations about her past that could also affect her future…
This is a beautifully written book that didn’t follow any of the expected pathways for me and was all the better for it! Maya was such a lovely character and I felt such empathy for her. The connection she developed with her dead mother through the use of her recipes became such a huge part of who they both were and I loved how the senses of smell and taste evoked such vivid flashbacks for her. As she became more aware of how the past had affected her present, I loved watching her face her fears head on-cooking up a storm as she did so.
My stomach rumbled constantly while reading The Arctic Curry Club! The recipes and the descriptions of the preparation process through to the tasting of the delicious food Maya cooked up left me hungry for more. Dani Redd is someone who really understands ingredients and the authenticity gives this book a really personal feel. It’s such a lovely storyline and I really wanted Maya to find her happy ever after. There is everything you want here in your “uplit”-stunning locations, quirky characters and food you could almost smell rising off the page. A rich, delicious and mouthwatering feast of a read that will take you away from your everyday life to a land of snow, ice and butter chicken.
Highly recommended by me.
Dani Redd is the debut author of The Arctic Curry Club, which was longlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize. She has an MA and PhD in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. This involved research trips to some of Europe’s remoter islands, including Spitsbergen, in the Arctic Circle. After this, she spent two years living in India. She now lives in Norwich with her husband, and is working as a food editor while writing that tricky second novel.