THE LAST CHINESE CHEF by Nicole Mones
I remember meeting Nicole when her first book came out in 1998. I was a buyer at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, and we were all pretty excited about Lost in Translation, which went on to win numerous prizes and do very well in sales for us, and for many other bookstores. I liked her first novel and I like this most recent novel even more, The Last Chinese Chef.
I found the characters believable, and the setting exotic. Not the kind of exotic that feels completely foreign, but the kind of exotic that feels like someplace I might want to visit, a place I might find felt like home. This is a rare and particular talent, sometimes evinced by travel writers, but not often by novelists.
Also, the book is about food. Glorious, scrumptious, heavenly food. Chinese food. Of course I was hungry, you had to ask? I had to make broccoli with fresh ginger and green curry, for heaven's sake.