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Bitter in the Mouth: A Novelby Monique Truong
Synopses & Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide.
From Monique Truong, the bestselling and award-winning author of The Book of Salt, comes a brilliant, mesmerizing, beautifullywritten novel about a young woman's search for identity and family, as she uncovers the secrets of her past and of history.
Growing up in the small town of Boiling Springs, NorthCarolina, in the 70's and 80's, Linda believes that she is profoundly different from everyone else, including the members of her own family. What I know about you, little girl, would breakyou in two are the cruel, mysterious last words that Linda's grandmother ever says to her.
Now in her thirties, Linda looks back at her past when she navigated her way through lifewith the help of her great-uncle Harper, who loves her and loves to dance, and her best friend Kelly, with whom Linda exchanges almost daily letters. The truth about my family was that we disappointed one another. When Iheard the word disappoint, I tasted toast, slightly burnt.
For as long as she can remember, Linda has experienced a secret sense--she can tastewords, which have the power to disrupt, dismay, or delight. She falls for names and what they evoke: Canned peaches. Dill. Orange sherbet. Parsnip (to her great regret). But with crushes comes awareness. As with allbodies, Linda's is a mystery to her, in this and in other ways. Even as Linda makes her way north to Yale and New York City, she still does not know the truth about her past.
Then, when a personal tragedy compels Linda to return to Boiling Springs, she gets to know a mother she never knew and uncovers a startling story of a life, a family. Revelation is when God tells us the truth. Confession is whenwe tell it to him.
This astonishing novel questions many assumptions--about what it means to be a family and to be a friend, to be foreign and to be familiar, to be connected and to bedisconnected--from others and from the past, our bodies, our histories, and ourselves.
The Lambda Literary Award-finalist author of The Book of Salt follows the challenging life journey of 1970s small-town youth Linda, whose synesthesia causes her to "taste" words and compels her to pursue a sense of belonging as she enters adulthood.
A deeply compassionate and artfully crafted novel about being foreign and family at the same time—by the writer whose debut, The Book of Salt, swept us away.
—O, The Oprah Magazine
Absorbing….Truong is a gifted storyteller, and in this quietly powerful novel she has created a compelling and unique character.
—Booklist, starred review
Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth, every word a taste, is a revelation of wit and heart and stunning talent. Truong invents Americana for a new America: from Great Uncle Harper to Dr Pepper and the Wright Brothers, she shades her classic coming of age tale with a magical ferocity that recalls Doctorow and Nabokov. Bitter in the Mouth is a soulful hymn to the hands we fashion with the cards we’re dealt.
—Jayne Anne Phillips
Be prepared for a full range of tastes of life in Bitter in the Mouth: friendship, loyalty, love, family, and above all, the mysteries at every corner of one’s history that make us who we are. Monique Truong is a great observer and a beautiful writer.
Monique Truong creates a world so subtle, mysterious, moving and sensory that it heightens our consciousness of those qualities in our own. Bitter in the Mouth is the rare novel that makes one life story unique and universal at the same time.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Monique Truong was born in Saigon and currently lives in New York City. Her first novel, The Book of Salt, was a New York Times Notable Book. It won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the 7th Annual Asian American Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Britain’s Guardian First Book Award. She is the recipient of the PEN American Robert Bingham Fellowship, and was awarded the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton for 2007-2008.
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