The Book of Salt

The Book of Salt

Book - 2004
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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 destination is unclear: will he go with "the Steins," stay in France, or return to Vietnam? Binh fled his homeland in disgrace. For five years, he has been the live-in cook at the famous apartment at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Before Binh's decision is revealed, his 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. He is a habitue of the Paris demimonde, an exile and an alien, a man of musings and memories, and, possibly, lies. Love is the prize that has eluded him, from his family to the men he has sought out, often at his peril.--From publisher description.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2004
Edition: First Mariner books edition
Copyright Date: ©2003
ISBN: 9780618446889
Branch Call Number: FIC TRUONG 2004
Characteristics: 261 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

While searching for his own place in the world, Binh, the cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas glimpses the dark nightlife of 1930s Paris.

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Nov 11, 2015

I found the story over narrated, slow paced with minimal plot. The prose was dense and at times came across as pretentious with confusing flashbacks that weren't easy to identify in place or time. Binh the Vietnamese cook doesn't speak english but quotes conversations between Gertrude Stein and Alice B Tolkais? He himself as a persona is hard to know, feel empathy for and even care about.

Jane60201 Jun 14, 2014

I really liked the writing in this book. One of the best I've read recently.

Feb 09, 2014

Having read The Paris Wife, I checked this book out thinking I would find out more about the Stein/Toklas salons in the Paris of that day. Instead this novel introduces a Vietnamese immigrant chef as employee and observer of this famous duo with a story of his own to tell. a sensually told tale.


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