The Book of Salt

The Book of Salt

Binh, a Vietnamese cook, flees Saigon in 1929, disgracing his family to serve as a galley hand at sea. The taunts of his now-deceased father ringing in his ears, Binh answers an ad for a live-in cook at a Parisian household, and soon finds himself employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Toklas and Stein hold court in their literary salon, for which the devoted yet acerbic Binh serves as chef, and as a keen observer of his "Mesdames" and their distinguished guests. But when the enigmatic literary ladies decide to journey back to America, Binh is faced with a monumental choice: will he, the self-imposed "exile," accompany them to yet another new country, return to his native Vietnam, or make Paris his home?

Title:The Book of Salt
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780618446889
Format Type:

    The Book of Salt Reviews

  • Jim Fonseca

    A fictional story of Binh, a Vietnamese man who is a cook to two real people in the 1930’s – Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas.Stein ruled the roost by her presence, but Toklas did all the heavy lif...

  • Whitaker

    An epic failure of research and imagination. The reviewers on GR who have rated this novel highly have generally praised its poetic evocation of love and loss. Okay, I can get that. The novel is an ex...

  • Thomas

    A novel full of distinct ideas and images that never quite came together. Monique Truong's debut book centers on Binh, a gay Vietnamese cook who flees Saigon in 1929 to work as a galley hand at sea. H...

  • Phillip Smith

    I read this book for a course on queer historical fiction. The story is told by a gay Vietnamese cook who works for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris during the late '20s/early '30s. There's...

  • Anthony

    In this slim novel, there are some lovely passages that evoke a forlorn loneliness, and the writing about food is quite sensual, depicted in what is often sumptuously poetic prose. But far too often, ...

  • Andrew

    A beautiful find. This gem of a novel by first time writer Truong shows great promise. A lyrical meditation on love, sex, food, and post colonial identity, this novel about a Vietnamese chef who works...

  • Cherie

    I would like to say that I liked it more, but I just can't. I feel pretty well read, but this story is a mystery of wandering thoughts. Some parts flowed nicely and others were very disjointed and fel...

  • Drew Jameson

    This book is driving me crazy. The premise is very interesting; Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas hire a gay Vietnamese cook and the story is his view of his own life and their's in Paris. But beyond ...

  • Suzy

    what can i say...this is the only novel where i rediscover the novel every time i read it. not only are the plot and the characters SO very well developed, but the research into gertrude stein & alice...

  • MD

    I expected to like this book a lot - it is set in a place and time that interest me (Paris in the 1930s and colonial Viet Nam) and is populated with real-life characters (Gertrude Stein and Alice B. T...