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Number One Chinese Restaurant

A Novel
Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

From Lillian Li comes an exuberant and wise multigenerational debut audiobook about the complicated lives and loves of people working in everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant.

The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay. 

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their 30-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children. 

Generous in spirit, unaffected in its intelligence, multivoiced, poignant, and darkly funny, Number One Chinese Restaurant looks beyond red tablecloths and silkscreen murals to share an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive.

©2018 Lillian Li (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

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    1 out of 5 stars

Sometimes you get a bad one...

At least the narrator was very good. The story lacked depth and the characters had no redeeming qualities. I couldn't wait to get to the end of the book...for all the wrong reasons. I won't recommend to friends or family.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Story Just Ok. Narrator Made the Experience Better

Story is just ok. I expected more given all the hype but I don't blame the author, only the publisher. It's a first novel and it's ok. But the publisher's hype made it out to be much more. I struggled with the unlikeable characters that never seemed to learn and grow from their mistakes. Maybe that's reality but I wanted more. I expect the author has a long career and future offerings will build from this entry. Miss Wu, narrator, was very good and helped the experience. If I had read the actual book I might have quit, but her voices and expression carried the prose.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cariola
  • Chambersburg, PA USA
  • 08-06-18

Annoying Narrator

I had a hard time getting past the narrator on this one. All of the older women are given an annoying, cliché "Dragon Lady" voice--you know, overly calm, whispery, supposedly mysterious and evil. She also made it difficult to tell the characters apart, which, in turn, made it difficult to follow the story. I might have liked this better in print, but maybe not. It's full of Chinese stereotypes--the long suffering wife/mother, the rebellious teenager, the single mother working her fingers to the bone for her ungrateful son, the elder who wants to control everyone and everything. Way too many people stabbing each other in the back. I just couldn't get into it.