[Ebook] ➩ The Book of Salt By Monique Truong – Thomashillier.co.uk

The Book of Salt Binh, A Vietnamese Cook, Flees Saigon In 1929, Disgracing His Family To Serve As A Galley Hand At Sea The Taunts Of His Now Deceased Father Ringing In His Ears, Binh Answers An Ad For A Live In Cook At A Parisian Household, And Soon Finds Himself Employed By Gertrude Stein And Alice B Toklas.Toklas And Stein Hold Court In Their Literary Salon, For Which The Devoted Yet Acerbic Binh Serves As Chef, And As A Keen Observer Of His Mesdames And Their Distinguished Guests But When The Enigmatic Literary Ladies Decide To Journey Back To America, Binh Is Faced With A Monumental Choice Will He, The Self Imposed Exile, Accompany Them To Yet Another New Country, Return To His Native Vietnam, Or Make Paris His Home


10 thoughts on “The Book of Salt

  1. says:

    An epic failure of research and imagination The reviewers on GR who have rated this novel highly have generally praised its poetic evocation of love and loss Okay, I can get that The novel is an extended dirge of a life spent in unrequited longing as a result of a loveless childhood and an equally loveless adulthood All of it told in prose like this I am at sea again I am at sea again Not the choppy, churning body that bashes open a ship s hull like a newborn s soft skull Yes, a sapphire that a ship s bow skims and grooves A calming blue expanse between now and Sunday.That little paragraph is a description of the main character s emotions after learning that his current lover wants to see him again the next weekend Here s another sample, this time the main character, B nh, describes love Quinces are ripe, GertrudeStein, when they are the yellow of canary wings in midflight They are ripe when their scent teases you with the snap of green apples and the perfumed embrace of coral roses But even then quinces remain a fruit, hard and obstinate useless, GertrudeStein, until they are simmered, coddled for hours above a low, steady flame Add honey and water and watch their dry, bone coloured flesh soak up the heat, coating itself in an opulent orange, not of the sunrises that you never see but of the insides of tree riped papayas, a colour you can taste To answer your question...


  2. says:

    A novel full of distinct ideas and images that never quite came together Monique Truong s debut book centers on Binh, a gay Vietnamese cook who flees Saigon in 1929 to work as a galley hand at sea He narrates his journey while later employed as a live in cook for Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, two esteemed women who operate a literary salon in Paris When the two women plan a return trip to America, Binh must confront the ghosts of his family and his exile The Book of Salt included a lot of cool phrases and poetic images about sexuality, race, gender, abuse, and I got lost in a good way in some of Truong s passages they would often flow from thought to metaphor to sensation and beyond Her use of Binh s overt introspection to isolate minute details and string them together impressed meHowever, I felt an overwhelming lack of direction in The Book of Salt Binh s mind wanders from place to time to memory to incident without any solid grounding the impact of his journey decreased because of how Truong did not give his internal rumination enough structure While Binh s desire for belonging and his curiosity about Stein and Toklas pulsated from the pages of the novel, his intense strands of emotion never merged into a single thread for rea...


  3. says:

    I read this book for a course on queer historical fiction The story is told by a gay Vietnamese cook who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas in Paris during the late 20s early 30s There s not too much plot, but what s there is dispensed slowly, with another piece being added to several timelines with each chapter The story is drawn from a brief mention in The Alice B Toklas Cook Book about their actual Vietnamese cook, and it is satisfying to read this novel from the latter perspective it s the Steins who are relegated to the background, one part of a longer narrative, and there is hardly any attention paid to the various artistes who came to visit Gertrude Stein this is a good thing.The best thing, though, is the writing, which is the verbal equivalent of some incredible, painstakingly prepared meal every clause seems to be constructed in the most imaginative and appealing way, I remember the description of a halved melon as offering its red belly and button of seeds , and I wonder how anyone could conceive of such a cool way to describe a fruitSo it s a deliciously written boo...


  4. says:

    A beautiful find This gem of a novel by first time writer Truong shows great promise A lyrical meditation on love, sex, food, and post colonial identity, this novel about a Vietnamese chef who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas in Paris, is so comfor...


  5. says:

    what can i saythis is the only novel where i rediscover the novel every time i read it not only are the plot and the characters SO very well developed, but the research into gertrude stein alice b toklas lives were extremely well done not t...


  6. says:

    This book is driving me crazy The premise is very interesting Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas hire a gay Vietnamese cook and the story is his view of his own life and their s in Paris But beyond the premise, and layer after layer of pretty language, there s nothing There is absolutely no story, whatsoever There are virtually no scenes whatsoever, just page after page of densely written summary filled with figurative language and aimless musings on life and love and so on and so on There are numerous requisite reminders that This Book is About Race and Class and Sexuality, but there isn t a single insight beyond, Sometimes people are racist Sometimes people are homophobes Isn t that a shame There s nice writing on every page, and some of the chapters weave an idea through from the beginning, disappearing and reappearing at the end to form a nice complete loop of thought But the narrator never feels like a gay man, always like a young woman imagining a gay man, and the two Madames have almost zero presence in the story There s no insig...


  7. says:

    It s told from the point of view of a Vietnamese cook who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas The cook is the narrator, and we learn throughout the story his compelling, and devastating, family history and why he left Vietnam.I was only a few pages into the book when I realized that I don t have the voice yet for my historical novel I m writing Truong has captured a rich, unique voice in her book that is addictive and haunting I only have ideas and notes, not that voice that will drive...


  8. says:

    I would like to say that I liked it , but I just can t I feel pretty well read, but this story is a mystery of wandering thoughts Some parts flowed nicely and others were very disjointed and felt completely chopped up I still do not understand the title, even at the end There were many observations of GertrudeStein and Miss Toklas that I really liked and one especially was regarding their waiting kits that Miss Toklas packed to give them something to do when their car broke down and they waited for help to arrive From the book Hers contains a set of knitting needles and several balls of apple green yarn, the disheveled kind with whispy hairs tangled on the surface She likes the color, so unripe it was makes her pucker just to look at it But most of all, she likes how the crispness of the color serves as a foil for the texture of the yarn, a melt in her hand sensation The eyes tell her one story, and the hand...


  9. says:

    I expected to like this book a lot it is set in a place and time that interest me Paris in the 1930s and colonial Viet Nam and is populated with real life characters Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas who interest me So why did I give it only one star 1 Nothing happens There is no plot The main character doesn t grow.2 I don t care for books where the main character is a victim throughout The main character is victimized by the French imperialists, by his father, by his lovers, and maybe by some others I ve forgotten He is still a victim at the end.3 An American restaurant Bargelike slabs of beef and very tall glasses of cow s milk, I imagined But when we got there, the red lantern hanging outside announced this was no American restaurant Oh, I said sighing, I was not expecting a Chinese restaurant Three kinds of vegetables, any three would do, just as long as they are cheap and drowned in a cornstarch thickened slu...


  10. says:

    An amazingly beautiful book Written with poetic and musical notes The emotions are poignant and bittersweet A feast that satisfies and drew me in to want .If readers like smart, literary and compelling books, this is it I can t recommend this enough And I will her other book and others she writes Readers will recognize one key theme of water and its various sources bodies h...


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