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Monique Truong

Autor(a) de The Book of Salt

5+ Works 1,614 Membros 57 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Inclui os nomes: Monique Troung, Monique Truong

Obras de Monique Truong

The Book of Salt (2003) 1,230 cópias
Bitter in the Mouth (2010) 287 cópias
The Sweetest Fruits (2019) 70 cópias

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum



Enjoyed reading this. A fast, moderately light read with good character development and an interesting story that unfolded gradually.
RuthInman123 | outras 17 resenhas | Mar 12, 2024 |
I'm not sure why the author chose to make the famous real-life couple of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas important secondary characters in this book about a Vietnamese cook. It really only served as a distraction, when she could easily have used a fictional couple.

There was a lot about this book that annoyed me. There's no real story, just a rambling set of recollections and events narrated in first person by the cook, styled as if he is confiding in his lover. This telling jumps around in time and place, from paragraph to paragraph, making it hard to follow. The continuous food metaphors become overbearing. I get it. Yes, yes, I get it.

And yet. The story is so full of emotions, of love and resentment and regret and longing and lust and hope and need and loneliness and resignation, that it is still a compelling read, for all its annoyances.

Paperback copy, bought secondhand on impulse when I was looking for another of this author's books.
… (mais)
Doodlebug34 | outras 34 resenhas | Jan 1, 2024 |
Set in the 1920s and 1930s, protagonist and narrator Binh is a young gay Vietnamese cook living in Paris and working as personal chef for Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas. He had to leave French Indochina due to a failed relationship and his father’s disapproval. He tells of his life and loves in Saigon and Paris, as he observes the interactions between Stein and Toklas.

This story is told in stream-of-consciousness in a non-linear timeline with frequent unannounced shifts. There is not much of a plot here, but there are two stories – one of Binh and his travails, and the other of the Stein-Toklas relationship. The writing is evocative and there are several emotionally moving scenes.

The portrayal of Binh as a voice of a marginalized person works particularly well. Binh knows about French cuisine, and this knowledge of food helps him break through some of the traditional stereotypes he often encounters. I liked the elegant writing and storylines, but the structure did not work all that well for me. I think this is a case where the style occasionally gets in the way. Still, I found it well worth reading.
… (mais)
1 vote
Castlelass | outras 34 resenhas | Oct 30, 2022 |
I found this on Hoopla, not knowing anything about it. The narrator, Linda, has the form of synesthesia in which hearing words produce tastes. In this book adult Linda explains many things--her relationship with her best friend Kelly and the thousands of letters they have written, her difficult relationship with her mother and grandmother, her good one with her father, her wonderful one with her great uncle "Baby" Harper, and how her synethesia has affected so much of her life--struggling in school, having conversations, watching TV--until she discovered that smoking and alcohol can both take the edge off "the incomings" as she refers to these tastes. She has always felt "different" in her town of Boiling Springs, NC, and has never quite been able to sort out what part of her history and herself is the cause. She explores that here.

I think the narrator (Jennifer Ikeda) did a great job with the narration, because "the incomings" in the text could make it hard to follow, but she does a great job with a tone for the parentheticals and I was able to focus on the sentence itself. It very much gave me an idea about how someone with this ability could struggle in school and life, as Linda often has.

For me, the most interesting thing about this book was the character of Baby Harper, Linda's gay librarian great uncle and great friend. This book was published in 2010 and this character reminded me so much of Uncle Root in [book:The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois|51183428] (published 2021). Is this a trope in southern lit? A coincidence? An homage? Did every southern girl growing up in the 70s/80s have a gay great uncle? Obviously there are differences (Harper a librarian, Root a retired professor), and a few things that would be spoilers. The stories are very different. But their roles in these books are both very similar in relation to the main characters.
… (mais)
Dreesie | outras 17 resenhas | Feb 25, 2022 |



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