Kitchen Chinese-A Novel About Food, Family, and Finding Yourself by Ann Mah -2010 - 361 Pages
Earlier this month I read a marvelous memoir, Mastering the Art of French Eating:Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah. From it I emerged wishing so much I could take my wonderful wife to Paris but her passing has prevented that. We did go to China together so In
decided I to read Ann Mah’s novel. Kitchen Chinese.
It is told by Isabelle Lee, an ABC (American Born Chinese) focusing on her relocation to Beijing
after getting fired from her job as a fact checker for a prestigious New York City magazine. “Kitchen Chinese” is what Isabelle calls the very limited version of Chinese she speaks. Her older sister, Claire, a high powered glamorous corporate attorney is already there. Claire is divorced. Both are childless, which deeply grieves their mother. Claire and Isabelle have never been really close. Claire graduated at the top of her class in Harvard Law School. Isabelle studied journalism.
Through Claire’s contacts Isabelle gets a job as food and music writer for an expat Magazine. Her Chinese is not great and people wonder why at first. The job introduces her to the vast diversity of Chinese cuisine. There are many delightful descriptions of meals.
There are romances. Some illadvised and one with marvelous potential. The sisters become closer. They are in frequent Communication with their demanding mother, pushing for Chinese grandchildren. I found the dramatic ending very gratifying.
I very much enjoyed Kitchen Chinese. It is fast moving, the minor characters are fun and interesting. It is for sure a Chinese Food Lovers book.
Ann Mah is an American food and travel writer and the bestselling author of The Lost Vintage and three other books. A frequent contributor to the New York Times’ Travel section, she lives in Paris and Washington, DC.”
I hope to read her 2018 novel, The Last Vintage, set in vineyards of Burgandy during World War Two, next month.
Food and family and friends - what more does one need to make a book good reading.
Thank you for the review.
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