Almost ten years ago, I read a fascinating novel about an archeological dig in China by a new author, Nicole Mones. That book was called Lost in Translation, which has nothing to do with the movie by the same name (which came out five years later). I have just finished reading The Last Chinese Chef, which is her third novel about China, and it was equally fascinating.
“Each of my novels picks some area of Chinese civilization and sends a valentine to it.”
The Last Chinese Chef is about traditional Chinese cuisine, but it is also a story about love and loss, reconnection and renewal. Maggie McElroy, recently widowed, is called to China to investigate a paternity suit against her husband’s estate. She is also a writer for a food magazine, so she agrees to write an article on a talented Chinese-American chef in Beijing.
“Both Maggie and Sam are traveling in two worlds — her world of the past and the present, his of overlapping, clashing cultures.” (Seattle Times)
“Infused with themes of tradition and obligation, belonging and connection, Mones’s satisfying, sensual novel just might be the perfect leisure read . . . This delicious book will leave you with an intense craving for perfectly prepared Chinese food.” (Wall Street Journal)
Any book by Nicole Mones is high on my recommended reading list. She is a wonderful storyteller, so I am always captivated by her characters and their lives, but she also teaches me so much about modern Chinese culture. This book was “sumptuous” — both rich and satisfying!
Click here to listen to Nicole Mones reading an excerpt from this book.