A Vietnamese novel of poetic beauty about love and food.
About the book
Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband - a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal.
Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef. Gracefully she practices her art, with food as her medium. She creates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time and place, and even bring her customers to tears.
Mãn is a mystery - her name means 'perfect fulfillment', yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair.
Full of indelible images of beauty, delicacy and quiet power, Mãn is a novel that begs to be savoured for its language, its sensuousness and its love of life.
Praise for Ru:'Kim Thúy writes with equal delicacy and candor about a childhood marked by horrifying brutality, and the pleasures of ordinary peace. A brave and moving book, bringing lucid insight both to the costs of violence, and elusive processes of psychic survival
This is an exemplary autobiographical novel. A tragic journey described in a keen, sensitive and perfectly understated voice
Thúy's stories are poetic and powerful
Rendered in exquisite, unsentimental prose. Kim Thúy is a born storyteller, but she rewrites the traditional immigrant narrative in a completely new way, makes it whole and wondrous once more.