The Sweetest Fruits: Book summary and reviews of The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong

The Sweetest Fruits

by Monique Truong

The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong X
The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

An ingenious reimagining of Greek-Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn's migratory life through the voices of the women who knew him best, and who testify to their own remarkable journeys.

A Greek woman tells of how she willed herself out of her father's cloistered house, married an Irish officer in the British Army, and came to Ireland with her two-year-old son in 1852, only to be forced to leave without him soon after. An African American woman, born into slavery on a Kentucky plantation, makes her way to Cincinnati after the Civil War to work as a boarding house cook, where in 1872 she meets and marries an up-and-coming newspaper reporter. In Matsue, Japan, in 1891, a former samurai's daughter is introduced to a newly arrived English teacher, and becomes the mother of his four children and his unsung literary collaborator.

The lives of writers can often best be understood through the eyes of those who nurtured them and made their work possible. In The Sweetest Fruits, these three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan. In their own unorthodox ways, these women are also intrepid travelers and explorers. Their accounts witness Hearn's remarkable life but also seek to witness their own existence and luminous will to live unbounded by gender, race, and the mores of their time. Each is a gifted storyteller with her own precise reason for sharing her story, and together their voices offer a revealing, often contradictory portrait of Hearn. With brilliant sensitivity and an unstinting eye, Truong illuminates the women's tenacity and their struggles in a novel that circumnavigates the globe in the search for love, family, home, and belonging.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Truong is dazzling on the sentence level, and she inhabits each of these three women brilliantly. Truong's command of voice and historical knowledge brings the stories of these remarkable women to life." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Some readers...may find their willingness to suspend disbelief tested. Bold, original, and uneven." - Kirkus Reviews

"It isn't only the fantastic Lafcadio Hearn who springs to new life in these pages. The women around him do as well, even as they mix the extraordinary and the ordinary in an exhilarating new way. The Sweetest Fruits is brilliant and heartbreaking--I was transfixed." - Gish Jen, author of Typical American

"Intimate and sensuous yet majestic in scope, The Sweetest Fruits is a rapturous, glorious novel, extraordinarily alive to the world." - Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

"Presented in four courses from the perspective of the women closest to him, The Sweetest Fruits is a feast you'll want to devour for its arresting metaphors and its beautiful prose." - Anita Lo, author of Solo: A Modern Cookbook for One

This information about The Sweetest Fruits shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Monique Truong Author Biography

Monique Truong is the Vietnamese American author of the bestselling, award-winning novels, The Book of Salt, Bitter in the Mouth, and The Sweetest Fruits. She's also a former refugee, essayist, avid eater, lyricist/librettist, and intellectual property attorney (more or less in this order).

Truong graduated from Yale University and the Columbia University School of Law, going on to specialize in intellectual property.

The author 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 ...

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