The Book of Salt

The Book of Salt 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 In Paris in Binh has accompanied his employe
  • Title: The Book of Salt
  • Author: Monique Truong
  • ISBN: 9780618304004
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Book of Salt
    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 In Paris, in 1934, Binh has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, to the train station for their departure to America His own future is unclear remain in France, go with the Steins , o 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 In Paris, in 1934, Binh has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, to the train station for their departure to America His own future is unclear remain in France, go with the Steins , or return to his native Vietnam A lost soul, he is a late night habitu of the Paris demimonde, an exile and an alien, a man of musings and memories, and, possibly, lies His mesmerizing narrative catapults us back to his youth in French colonized Vietnam, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation.
    The Book of Salt By Monique Truong,
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    About " Monique Truong "

  • Monique Truong

    Monique T.D Truong born 1968 in Saigon, South Vietnam is a Vietnamese American writer living in Brooklyn, New York Truong left Vietnam for the United States in 1975 She served in the past as an associate fiction editor for the Asian Pacific American Journal, a literary publication of the Asian American Workshop based in New York City.


  • 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 [...]

  • Onvan The Book of Salt Nevisande Monique Truong ISBN 618446885 ISBN13 9780618446889 Dar 272 Safhe Saal e Chap 2003

  • 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 coo [...]

  • 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 i [...]

  • 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 comfortable in its dreamy imagination and adaptation that is feels ceaseless It lingers like an ocean voyage.

  • 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 nu [...]

  • what can i sayis 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 to mention all the social issues addressed and all the boundaries crossed who could ask for monique truong, you are a genius

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 t [...]

  • It s distinctly a debut novel You can tell it s written in a state of transition, whether that s from poetry or from short stories to novels The writing comes and goes in spurts, and no single story strand ever appears long enough to pick out a delicate pattern It s just a mass of tangled threads at the end But somehow the underlying fabric remains steady, and you re pulled through the narrative without meaning to be.The narrator, supposedly complex, is a collection of traits than an individual [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • This book became magical for me In the beginning, the feelings of disjointedness and alienation experienced by our narrator and made real by the style of the narration left me confused and disquieted As his years of service with Madame and Madame continued, I felt the style becoming less contrived and I was able to identify with him I didn t know much about Gertrude Stein really she s the one with the fish and the bicycle, right but this rang true for me in its description of her life and her h [...]

  • 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 how this thread is built and woven throughout the book Such readers will also relish how the poetry of words works throughout [...]

  • There are books that I know are too sophisticated for me and this is one of them This book is so perfect, so full of poetic, gorgeous phrasing, that it s unreadable to me I read some pages aloud, accompanied by sublime cups of jasmine and oolong paired with lychee fruit in china that matched the color of the book cover, but I couldn t continue reading after the cups were empty, the flesh of the lychee stripped from the nut My intrigue in the words and the story lasted only a few cups of tea, a f [...]

  • This book made me want to cook a humongous meal and gorge myself, even though I can t cook my way out of paper bag Monique Truong s descriptions of food are sensual, but not in the massage kind of way When she talks about mangoes, it s as though it s a really hot day and you ve just plunged your sweaty face into a big bowl of freshly cut mango and shaved ice that kind of sensual The book s overarching conceit is also really interesting its narrator is Anh Binh, a Vietnamese expatriate whose gour [...]

  • My friend Naomi lent me this book a couple months ago while she was very homesick for Paris I took advantage of today s awful weather to sit inside and read it I can see how some could read it and not quite remember much about the book One seems to glide in and out of scenes Vietnam, somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Paris with total ease It s amazingly sensual Descriptions of cooking and eating are as visceral as the descriptions of the books lovers I have really enjoyed reading this book a [...]

  • Genre Historical Fiction, Queer FictionSingle Sentence Summary A gay Vietnamese cook in 1930 s Paris serves two eccentric lesbians and constantly has his heart broken Writing Quality 10 10 S The syntax and words used in this book are amazingly considered There are times where it may read as overly elaborate, however I think this is purposeful when considering that the protagonist s spoken language is broken Truong s writing really makes the reader think and consider not just the social implicati [...]

  • I was 3 4 of the way through this when I took a phone call from a friend and was trying to explain to her why I didn t like it You just don t love the dykes, she said nice Actually, I said, there s not enough about the dykes in this book for me to know if I like them or not and I realized the problem this book isn t about GertrudeStein LOL and Alice Toklas it s not about the chef it s not about cooking it s not about Americans living in Paris and it s not about an unpublished manuscript It s jus [...]

  • Beautiful prose, fascinating setting, no plot.Yes, the book has strong, thought provoking elements of what it means to be other the miserable approach of the narrator, a gay Vietnamese cook in 1920s 30s Paris, or the brave, positive approach of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, the gay American couple who hired him Yes, the author can turn a phrase But there s no story for the pretty words to describe It s all flashbacks of relationships real and imagined, mis directions and lies, and decadent [...]

  • Rare is the book that makes me put it down with twenty pages Normally I try to keep going, but sometimes you can just tell I think this is the passage that did it for me And so, like a courtesan, forced to perform the dance of the seven veils, I grudgingly reveal the names, one by one, of the cities that have carved their names into me, leaving behind the scar tissue that forms the bulk of who I am This is not in response to some grueling interrogation no, employers are interviewing an applicant [...]

  • I feel like two stars is too generous, but one star is too harsh for an author who clearly knows how to write but doesn t know when to stop or edit The book for me only really becomes cloyingly annoying at the start of ch 18 when the narrator begins comparing his mother s strength to a bamboo tree The rest of the book shoud just not have been written in my opionon The description on the bird dying as a symbol for his own mother s death is trite Further Truong does not leave it up to the reader t [...]

  • Monique Truong writes an honest book about the relationship of the colonized to the colonizers Her narrator is a Vietnamese cook for the Mesdames, Gertrudestein said as one word by all those around her and Alice B Toklas while they live in Paris Understanding well his own circumstances, forced to flee his job at the Governor General s in Saigon and rejected by his colleague brother and always by his father after an affair he has with the chef is found out It takes time to consider who he is in h [...]

  • I initially picked this book up because I d been hearing good things about another title Salt A World History so I kind of had salt on the brain.This book The Book of Salt left me very unsatisfied I don t have a particularly good recollection of why, as I read it several years ago I just remember some vague thoughts that the writing was not very good, and for some reason I didn t really warm up to Bin I believe that s how his name was spelled Unfortunately, I can t cite any specific examples all [...]

  • Such a beautifully written book The words were pure poetry I found myself rereading full chapters just to retaste such lovely words The plot is pure genius A fictionalized account of a Vietnamese cook named Binh who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas in the Paris of the 30 s It was clever and sweet and heartbreaking at the same time The sad life of Binh will stay with me A new favorite

  • Such a brilliant premise for a book Truong, based on a few lines from Toklas real cookbook, imagines what it would be like to be the Vietnamese cook servant to the famous ex patriot couple Gertrude Stein Alice B Toklas in Paris The story intertwines the difficult life of Binh the homosexual Vietnamese servant with the glamourous hilarious lives of the Steins This book revolves around reconciling traditional cultures with that culture s ever changing future Painful and wonderful.

  • I m giving this book 4 stars, knowing that it will mostly likely earn 5 next time I read it, which I hope will be soon The language is jaw dropping, and I read it a little to fast to savor it appropriately The story is great and there are a lot of gems of humanity along the way But truly it is the beautifully sensual language that is the star of the show Beautiful.

  • I read this while at Hedgebrook She wrote part of this while staying in the same cottage I could feel the rhythm of the same environment in the part about the mother the part she wrote there The rain fell on the roof, same as it did in the narrative, it was an eerie experience.

  • In The Book of Salt, Monique Truong portrays a unique view of Paris in the 1920s The protagonist, Binh, is a Vietnamese chef working for Gertrude Stein Truong s writing does not stick to one particular timeline and often jumps between different moments in Binh In this way, the story is told piece by piece, until the whole picture is made One consistent element throughout the book is Binh s encounter s with men, whether in Paris or in his hometown Saigon These multiple relationships all affect ea [...]

  • 4 stars to the second half of the book, 2 stars to the first half glad I kept reading because it got way interesting later on.

  • Wow, I liked this Maybe it has something to do with a big surprise I got when I began reading the main character is gay and his sexual orientation is important the book, and it s subtly written but very suggestive, and the character is sincere and strong, and refuses to feel sorry for himself despite troubles his love life lands him in I was happy, really happy about this.The story is told from the point of view of Binh, a 26 year old Vietnamese who lives in Paris with Gertrude Stein and Alice B [...]

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