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 :)
Yes, it's a book I would revisit every few years.
Perhaps The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Swet due to,the clash between cultures.
No, but they were both outstanding.
It would have to be the chef himself. I would want him to explain the meaning behind each dish.
I'm looking forward to listening to other books by this author.
This book kept me wanting to listen longer. Really enjoyed the entire story.
I learned a lot about food and how I have been looking at food from a very narrow perspective.
I enjoyed this book completely. Well read. I loved the interspersing of quotes from the old book . Took me to another world Good for some armchair traveling. Prepare to be hungary
I listened to this book during a critical transition phase in my life learning to deal with a loss. The story was soothing and I was comfortably reflective listening to it. A good book with realistic characters that a listener will feel connected to. I also felt a deep connection to China and its history listening to the descriptions of values and cultures.
I wanted to listen to this straight through. The cadence was great, the historical commentary on both food and politics were perfect. I really cant think of a way to improve on the entire experience.