A novel of Paris in the 1930s from the eyes of the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, by the author of The Sweetest Fruits.
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.
Winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
A Best Book of the Year: New York Times, Village Voice, Seattle Times, Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and others
“An irresistible, scrupulously engineered confection that weaves together history, art, and human nature…a veritable feast.”—Los Angeles Times
“A debut novel of pungent sensuousness and intricate, inspired imagination…a marvelous tale.”—Elle
“Addictive…Deliciously written…Both eloquent and original.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A mesmerizing narrative voice, an insider's view of a fabled literary household and the slow revelation of heartbreaking secrets contribute to the visceral impact of this first novel.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review