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Monique Truong biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Monique Truong

Monique Truong

How to pronounce Monique Truong: Trun

Monique Truong 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 prestigious Lannan Foundation writing residency in 2001.

Her other works are Bitter in the Mouth (2010) and The Book of Salt (2003). Bitter in the Mouth received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a 25 Best Fiction Books of 2010 by Barnes & Noble, a 10 Best Fiction Books of 2010 by Hudson Booksellers, and the adult fiction Honor Book by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.

The Book of Salt was a national bestseller and the recipient of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles National Literary Award, an Association for Asian American Studies Poetry/Prose Award, and a Seventh Annual Asian American Literary Award. In 2003,The Book of Salt was honored as a New York Times Notable Fiction Book, a Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction Book, one of the Village Voice's 25 Favorite Books, and one of the Miami Herald's Top 10 Books, among other citations.

Monique Truong's website

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Interview

Monique Truong talks about her novel The Book of Salt and how her own history as a child of wartime Vietnam has flavored her writing.

The main character of The Book of Salt is a cook. What's your relationship to the preparation of food?
I cook for pleasure. I cook to experience something new. I cook, like the characters in my novel, to remind me of where I have been. I always cook or rather I always "taste" the food first in my mind. I approach a recipe like a story. I imagine it, sometimes I have a dream about it, then I go about crafting it.

Tell us about the novel's structure.
The Book of Salt opens in Paris in October of 1934. Bình, the cook, has accompanied his employers Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas to the train station. He seems to be faced with a decision. Will he go to the United States with his Mesdames? Will he return to his family in Vietnam, or, will he continue his life in France or will he travel to some other place of his choosing? Before Bình's "choice" is revealed, the reader is brought back in time and made privy to the stories of the Vietnamese cook and of his American employers. What led each of them to live far from the land of their birth? What, if anything, could bring them back home again? The answers to these questions are found in Bình's memories, musings, observations, and ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Monique Truong at BookBrowse
The Sweetest Fruits jacket Bitter in the Mouth jacket The Book of Salt jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Monique Truong but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Monica Ali

    Monica Ali

    Monica Ali is the daughter of English and Bangladeshi parents.

    She came to England at the age of three, and her first home was Bolton in Greater Manchester. Ali later studied at Oxford University.

    Her first novel, Brick ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Book of Salt

    Try:
    Brick Lane
    by Monica Ali

  • Glen David Gold

    Glen David Gold

    Glen David Gold is the author of Sunnyside and Carter Beats the Devil, which has been translated into fourteen languages. His short stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney's, Playboy, and The New York Times ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Book of Salt

    Try:
    Sunnyside
    by Glen David Gold

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