This is my favorite audiobook in a great while. What captivated me most are the author's sumptuous and learned descriptions of true Chinese cuisine, which is highly sophisticated in its cultural meanings, ingredients, and preparation. The narration is beautifuly realized, and the love story is handled with unusual sensitivity (no soft-porn passages, thankfully). I felt at the end a much greater appreciation for both Chinese culture and its wondrously complex food.
I love to cook and I grew up learning the art of Asian cooking from my mother. While this story was not a book filled with recipes, it made me want to head to the kitchen and poach a chicken with ginger and spices and search out recipes of age old imperial Chinese cuisine.
I loved this story and could not put it down. Love, betrayal, friendship, disappointment and the unity of family wove two people's lives together in a heart warming tale. The only reason I did not give it a five star rating was because the ending left me wanting for more. Not that the ending was bad - just not enough.
I picked this book up because it was part of a sale event. I had low expectations because I sometimes find it hard to follow books set in Asia and spanning multiple generations. This book was easy to get into, had interesting storylines and characters, and I found myself looking forward to the chances I'd get to listen. You can see the ending coming a mile away, but even though you're progressing toward a known outcome, the journey is fun. And as a bonus: now I'm curious to try some legit Chinese food!
It's kind of what would happen of The Pilot's Wife and Eat, Pray, Love were put in a Vitamix and spun around: sadness gives way to curiosity, then self-discovery and, ultimately, romance. Maggie, a thirty-something widowed food writer, is called to China by her late husband's Bejing office to resolve a possible paternity suit that demands attention according to Chinese law. Since she's going, she accepts an assignment from her employer to profile a rising-star chef, and parallel discoveries begin: Was her late husband unfaithful? Did he leave a child behind? Can Sam Liang, the Chinese-American chef she's come to profile, admit Maggie beyond his protective armor to allow her to see the emotional center of true traditional Chinese cuisine? Will Sam win a critically important competition that will finish the arc of Maggie's profile? This modern story is interspersed with the diary of Sam's grandfather, chef to China's Dowager Empress, and Sam's father, who spurned his inheritance as culinary royalty to begin a humble life in America. Family, food, forgiveness are the backbone of The Last Chinese Chef. Fans of Nicole Mones' previous work (Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light) will feel full and happy at the end of this book. New readers will be left with an appetite for more.
Really liked both Maggie and Sam
I wouldn't change the name
This if a wonderful cultural journey through food, friends and tales of the past. There is enough intrigue to keep the you engaged but no violence. It has me ready for some real true, Chinese cuisine.
Love, Food, China
I have not read another like this book
I particularly appreciated the sections explaining the Chinese philosophy of food preparation, ingredients, and the importance of sharing meals. The "quotes" of the Last Chinese Chef introducing each chapter were poetic. I visited China and appreciated and enjoyed the people there. This book helped explain why I had such admiration for the lovely, funny, warm people I met there.
I am planning another visit to China. This book will allow me to pay more attention to the cooking in China and so seek some imperial Chinese meals. I am so glad to have this book.
Yes. It's a very informative story about the interactions between a western woman and a Chinese American man in China as they deal with two very different world views and cultures. The information about traditional Chinese cuisine is fascinating and enjoyably educational.
Sam, although the Uncles are pretty interesting characters too.
Their voices were suitable for the characters and just a pleasure to hear.
Without giving away too much of the story, I felt like weeping when Sam didn't win the contest. The following scenes with the Uncles and Maggie were culturally realistic and very moving.
I spent a few months in China and have lived in other Asian countries and I appreciated the way the cultures were presented. The usual stereotypes were missing. Thank goodness for that.
Avid Audible Subscriber...
This book was a pleasant surprise! I was not sure what to expect when it first began but after listening I would highly recommend it. A journey through the culture and cuisine from China via a story. The narrators are excellent!
This is a very enjoyable novel. Yes, it is a romance, and will probably mostly appeal to women readers, but it is not 'typical' of that genre. Because of the travel and wonderful foodie appeal, it reminded me in some ways of Eat, Pray, Love. I particularly liked the maturity of the characters, both in age and life experience. The narration was excellent as well.
I really enjoyed this book It was very interesting and I received greater insight into the
Chinese culture while listening to a well told story. I have recommended it to my friends and will look for the work of this author and narrators again. Thanks for the entertainment