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The Book of Salt (2003)

af Monique Truong

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,1073213,369 (3.5)41
He] came to us through an advertisement that I had in desperation put in the newspaper. It began captivatingly for those days: 'Two American ladies wish...' It was these lines in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook that inspired The Book of Salt, a brilliant first novel by a talented young Vietnamese American writer about the taste of exile. Paris, 1934, 'Thin Bin', as they call him, has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to the station for their departure to America. His own destination is unclear: will he go with 'the Steins', stay in France, or return to his native Vietnam? Binh fled his homeland in disgrace, leaving behind his malevolent charlatan of a father and his self-sacrificing mother. For five years, he has been the personal cook at the famous apartment on the rue de Fleurus. Before Binh's decision is revealed, we are catapulted back to his youth in French-colonized Indo China, where he learned to cook in the embassy kitchens, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation. Binh knows far more than what the Steins eat: he knows their routines and intimacies, their food and foll… (mere)
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» Se også 41 omtaler

Engelsk (31)  Norsk (1)  Alle sprog (32)
Viser 1-5 af 32 (næste | vis alle)
Really fascinating and beautifully written book. Highly recommended. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
A clear-eyed, complicated, well voiced novel. Grand and simple, the book fits a full, beautiful world in briefly, managing to make terrible things palatable without losing the truth. The tone is remarkably rich while remaining direct, though it does occationally run to purple. A lovely book. Worth it for the food alone. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
1930's Paris, Viet cook of Gertrude Stein + Alice B. Toklas
Is salt — Kitchen, Sweat, Tears, or Sea
beautiful words — transition from Viet. to Paris — "gay" — fitting in own life Excellent

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?
  christinejoseph | May 16, 2018 |
When I picked up this book it was on the premise that it focused on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas during their time living in France. It was through the eyes of their Vietnamese cook, Binh. I found that that was the backdrop for the story and that the main focus was the cook and his finding who he was.

Scenes of his young life and early work life in Viet Nam. A harsh upbringing with a demanding father and a submissive mother. The voice of his father making comments on Binh's life choices and how much his father felt Binh had failed. Binh was to become a cook and follow in his older brother's footsteps...but Binh made other choices and wound up going to sea and winding up in Paris. Here he goes to work for two American ladies, Stein and Toklas.

Written in a mix of current time frame and flashback, the reader moves between different times in Binh's life, while he examines then and how they influenced his current situation.

Truong is a beautiful writer and her style and word usage draws you along to continue reading. For me the subject wasn't to my preference. But her work is easy and pleasing to read and made me want to finish the book out of respect for her quality of writing. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
I found The Book of Salt a bit hard to stay with for my late evening reading, but deeply visual and moving. ( )
  ArleenWilliams | Jul 22, 2014 |
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We had certainly luck in finding good cooks, though they had their weaknesses in other ways. Gertrude Stein liked to remind me that if they did not have such faults, they would not be working for us. -Alice B. Toklas
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On that day I have two photographs and, of course, my memories.
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He] came to us through an advertisement that I had in desperation put in the newspaper. It began captivatingly for those days: 'Two American ladies wish...' It was these lines in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook that inspired The Book of Salt, a brilliant first novel by a talented young Vietnamese American writer about the taste of exile. Paris, 1934, 'Thin Bin', as they call him, has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to the station for their departure to America. His own destination is unclear: will he go with 'the Steins', stay in France, or return to his native Vietnam? Binh fled his homeland in disgrace, leaving behind his malevolent charlatan of a father and his self-sacrificing mother. For five years, he has been the personal cook at the famous apartment on the rue de Fleurus. Before Binh's decision is revealed, we are catapulted back to his youth in French-colonized Indo China, where he learned to cook in the embassy kitchens, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation. Binh knows far more than what the Steins eat: he knows their routines and intimacies, their food and foll

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