Sweet Mandarin

Sweet Mandarin is a great biography/autobiography of three generations of Chinese women and their stories of working as restaurateurs in England.  Subtitled The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West, the book does tell an inspiring story of courage as each woman grows, adapts, and changes with the world around her.   Helen Tse is a great writer and the family memories she shares are interesting, poignant, and quite captivating.

With her vivid descriptions, sights and sounds jump off the pages and the book is equally filled with smells and tastes that leave readers as hungry for Tse's recipes as for her prose. I would highly recommend this book to fans of Amy Tan's novels (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, etc.), as the multi-generational story is similar to much of her work, but I enjoyed Sweet Mandarin all the more because it is nonfiction. I felt a deeper connection to the characters knowing that they were actual members of Helen Tse's family rather than just her creations.

2 Response to "Sweet Mandarin"

  1. Ellen aka Ellie says:
    August 13, 2010 at 7:21 AM

    After reading the first two lines of this post, I thought of Amy Tan's books. Then I thought about changing my dinner plans from Mexican to Chinese! (Yeah, it's this early and I'm thinking about dinner.) I also remembered a trip to London and a meal in a Chinese restaurant...perhaps, since your review brought with it so many provoked thoughts, I should add this one to MTBR?

  2. lisa :) says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    If you like Amy Tan's work, this one definitely has the same feel to it. And it will make you crave Chinese food... not sure if that's good or bad. ;) You'll have to tell me about your London trip sometime ( or blog about it?) I've always wanted to visit the UK!

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