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The Book of Salt
The Book of Salt
Author: Monique Truong
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. ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780099455455
ISBN-10: 0099455455
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Pages: 276
Edition: New Ed
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.

2.5 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Book of Salt on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A New York Times Notable Book - life of Vietnamese cook working for Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas in Paris. Very sad that this gay young man's' life was so undermined by circumstances and the people around him. Lyrical writing. Look for all mentions of the sources of salt.
reviewed The Book of Salt on
Helpful Score: 3
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well-written and imaginative. I love a book that makes me think and inspires me to learn more. The Book of Salt sparked me to research how Stein and Toklas, two Jewish lesbians, managed to live in occupied France during the Nazi reign. Google is your friend
reviewed The Book of Salt on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very introspective book. Little action, not plot-driven. Narrator is the main character.
reviewed The Book of Salt on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Unusual and imaginative.
reviewed The Book of Salt on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
First off, Monique Truong is a super talented author and I will happily look for more of her books. Unfortunately, The Book of Salt is filled with all three of my Sleepy Read Triggers: religion (Catholicism in particular), cooking minutiae (Babette's Feast, zzzzzzzzz), and magical realism.

The three main characters in this historical-fiction are Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and Binh, the Vietnamese cook they take in at their famed Paris Studio. In addition, there are a ton of other intriguing characters, narrator Binh's family members, former employers, love interests, and various men he meets on boats and bridges (most of whom seemed to be love interests, but I got too confused to say so for certain). None of these people were introduced in a chronological order, their stories were all layered and interrupted, and then re-introduced in a pseudo-rhythmic manner with various constant and repeated refrains - all of which I think was meant to reference GertrudeStein's non-linear style, but which did not really appeal to me personally.
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Gertrude Stein (Major Character)
Alice B. Toklas (Major Character)
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