The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
A Novel

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The Book of Salt serves up a wholly original take on Paris in the 1930s through the eyes of Binh, the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Viewing his famous mesdames and their entourage from the kitchen of their rue de Fleurus home, Binh observes their domestic entanglements while seeking his own place in the world. In a mesmerizing tale of yearning and betrayal, Monique Truong explores Paris from the salons of its artists to the dark nightlife of its outsiders and exiles. She takes us back to Binh's youthful servitude in Saigon under colonial rule, to his life as a galley hand at sea, to his brief, fateful encounters in Paris with Paul Robeson and the young Ho Chi Minh.

About Monique Truong

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Monique Truong was born in Saigon and currently lives in New York City. Her first novel, The Book of Salt, was a New York Times Notable Book. It won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the 7th Annual Asian American Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Britain's Guardian First Book Award. She is the recipient of the PEN American Robert Bingham Fellowship, and was awarded the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton for 2007-2008.
Published June 15, 2004 by Mariner Books. 277 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Book of Salt

Entertainment Weekly

The Book of Salt (2013) For her deliciously written debut novel, Truong cooks up a bitter, complex tale of heartbreak and despair.

Apr 04 2003 | Read Full Review of The Book of Salt: A Novel


Like Binh, GertrudeStein (“Al-ways, ‘GertrudeStein.’ Just think of it as one word,” Binh is advised when he goes seeking work), operates with a minimal facility in French and takes an amused interest in Binh’s use of language.

Aug 01 2003 | Read Full Review of The Book of Salt: A Novel

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