Wonderful combination of Chinese history, Chinese cooking and food, and Chinese family! Since I've always been so intrigued by China, the perfect book for me!
I loved the cultural aspects of this book. Learning about China and the culture / history of the food there was very interesting. The story is uplifting, but not overly sweet as there are themes of grief, death and loss. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire read and I didn't want to it end!
The imagery is written so beautifully. Mones is such a graphic writer. I loved how she made the food sound, smell and taste come off the page.
The story was well put together giving a detailed background of the characters as the story progressed. It captivates you and wants you to know more about the characters.
A great read.
I don't know why I picked this book up in the first place since this is not my typical listen, but I am glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the communist impact to food and culture in general in China and the recent resurgence of the food culture. The author's description of widowhood were spot on in several places -- little things that most people don't think about, unless you have experienced it, rang true.
Unfortunately, I think this is a book that is better read than listened to, especially is you speak Mandarin. Elisabeth's reading of this book was disappointing for several reasons.
First, her reading cadence was off. It's not exactly flat but the rhythm is all off. It was difficult to get into the flow of the story for several chapters. Second, she should have spent some time learning to pronounce the very few Mandarin words that were scattered around the book. Even if you can get past the cadence, you get jarred out of the story by her pronunciation of the Mandarin words.
Despite the performance, I'm glad I persevered. It is a lovely story.
I started this audio book during a long drive. I think I bought it at one of the Audible sales, and often those turn out to be major duds. This lovely audio book was a complete delight.
The story was engaging, with believable characters with real emotions and concerns. Somehow the author manages to share everyone's viewpoint without making it a jumble of characters with juggled story lines which often leaves me confused and not particularly engaged with any of them. Each character's story is human, believable and plays a major role in helping us understand as the story unfolds.
No spoilers here, listen for yourself. It's a joy, an easy listen, yet deep in many places.
I loved how she wove actual Chinese into the story, though the lack of tone used by the narrator meant it was always a little off, and though set in Beijing, no Beijing accent applied. Still I loved the simple story. Not complex or too surprising but compelling enough to get to the end in a few sittings. Makes me want to track down some of the references to poems and foods. I learned a new phrase: 油而不腻, meaning "taste of fat but not too greasy" a rare thing in average Chinese meals. But having been to China and experienced real food there, I appreciated the joyous exploration of food and relationships.
Really gave a captivating insight into Chinese food- the art of eating. Loved those descriptions. It was a little disappointing in the last chapter or so- I would have liked a little more But overall I loved it and now would really love to go to China if I could experience anything resembling this :)