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Prose for the discerning
I will reread Monique Truong's The Book of Salt just for the enchanting way she has written this story. To put it simply she writes beautifully. The story of the man on the bridge is poetic as are several other parts of this book. I'm glad she won some prizes; I think she should have won more.
The interview on BookBrowse is excellent, Thanks
The Book of Salt is such a touching novel with Binh, the Vietnamese cook, who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris, mixing his metaphors as he reluctantly sails across the seas from Vietnam to Paris. His remakable journey is told with sincerity, but there are vague insinuations that make me wonder if he will ever find peace in life. Excellently narrated with a poetic flavor and keen inner vision.
I hope Ms. Truong will write another novel soon.
I don't recommend this book. Truong's writing style is so elliptical that sometimes I didn't know what was going on--and I don't think that was always the intended effect. I found it hard to believe that the narrator could be as articulate as he was, and that he knew as much about what was going on in the lives of his employers as he did. The author worked too hard to create a romantic/mysterious/melancholy air about everything; in short, the novel felt overwritten to me. I only finished it because it was selected by my book group.
I just finished reading, The Book of Salt. It was the most delectable, positively poignant and intriguing book, fact and/or fiction, that I have read in, approximately, the past 12 years. On average, I read 40+ books per year.
Ms. Truong's use of words drew this reader deeper into thinking about the meaning of her words, wondering how she learned to bring unique understandings and meanings to her words in the contexts of a narrative type of presentation. I found the book to be tantalizing in the sense that the prose was a combination of exacting, sensitive, visual image prone and presented in sweeping tones of breadth and depth.
This book offers gave me a reading experience that was so indulgent that I was led to take it in relatively small bites, that is, not more than 30-40 pages per reading session. Each bite was worth savoring until the next one was taken.
I look forward to reading the next book that she has published.
Not a bad book but not intriguing enough to make me feel like I had to finish it. Had it not been selected for my book club (by me by the way) I don't think I would have finished it. I'm a novice "foodie" which is why I thought I'd like it. I felt as if there was no real drama and no real conclusion.