Yummy Summer Reading
It’s time for a great summer read! This month we’ll be reading and discussing THE BOOK OF SALT by MONIQUE TRUONG as part of our online book group, and talking about it on our Discussion Boards.
Here’s the official description:
The Book of Salt serves up a wholly original take on Paris in the 1930s through the eyes of Binh, the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Viewing his famous mesdames and their entourage from the kitchen of their rue de Fleurus home, Binh observes their domestic entanglements while seeking his own place in the world. In a mesmerizing tale of yearning and betrayal, Monique Truong explores Paris from the salons of its artists to the dark nightlife of its outsiders and exiles. She takes us back to Binh’s youthful servitude in Saigon under colonial rule, to his life as a galley hand at sea, to his brief, fateful encounters in Paris with Paul Robeson and the young Ho Chi Minh.
MONIQUE TRUONG was born in Saigon in 1968 and moved to the United States at age six. She graduated from Yale University and the Columbia University School of Law, going on to specialize in intellectual property. Truong coedited the anthology Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, and her essay “‘Welcome to America”’ was featured on National Public Radio. Granting her an award of excellence, the Vietnamese American Studies Center at San Francisco State University called her “‘a pioneer in the field, as an academic, an advocate, and an artist.”’ She was awarded a prestigious Lannan Foundation writing residency in 2001.
I’d add that the writing is ridiculously beautiful, the food descriptions can make you delirious, and it was one of those books I was sad to get to the end of, just because there wasn’t any more of it.
You can buy it online at Women & Children First — and if you use this link, part of the proceeds will benefit CNW.
If you’ve already read it, feel free to jump in and let us know what you thought, what kind of ideas & questions it provoked, and whether you’d recommend it to a friend. If you haven’t read it yet, join us in reading it together!