RaveAsian Review of BooksYe powerfully renders the displacement felt by recent immigrants fitfully learning the language, to further highlight the cultural divide they face, and to demonstrate that they seem to have no way but forward ... Each one closes without resolution, but remains stirring. Although hao may be misapplied, Ye’s characters are clear about what is wrong with the situations they find themselves in and their particular struggles, as rendered by Ye, are universal and poignant.
PositiveAsian Review of Books... on food, Zauner is deliciously specific ... Zauner does not share many specifics of her musical development, aside from the joys of eventually touring with her band in Korea, but it’s evident that from the initial struggles, her fierce independence and point of view have contributed to her success as an artist, both in the musical and literary senses. Crying in H Mart will push the reader to explore Korean food if it is unfamiliar, and share the poignancy of memories intertwined with love and meals past.
PositiveAsian Review of BooksLoosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Sonali Dev’s new book is enriched with culinary allusions, replete with the aromas of tea and spice and based in a modern South Asian family (of royal lineage), as was her prior Austen revamp ... Dev deliciously conjures up the meals Ashna and Rico work on, and make the reader long for a custom tea blend as she seems to have for each dear person in her life, and occasion ... Aside from minor slips...Dev’s latest book is an appetizing delight.
RaveAsian Review of BooksFor anyone who enjoyed the travelogues of Anthony Bourdain, Be My Guest is a deeper and weightier exposition of the themes he explored—starting with food and extending to the movements of governments, and the meaning of self and other—and Basil similarly shares the joys of both writing and eating ... Interwoven with these richly textured memories are personal, sometimes self-deprecating, observations on her own relationships with these women, and their choice foods ... Her own background provides plenty of fodder...which she mines very successfully ... Basil’s candor and depth of examination and feeling, along with her moving turns of phrase, is compelling.
Mieko Kawakami, trans. by Sam Bett and David Boyd
PositiveThe Asian Review of BooksBeyond the linguistic sleight-of-hand of the title, the translators have a knack for wordplay which makes a non-Japanese speaker marvel at the process ... Kawakami threads these themes of self-actualization, maternal purpose and responsibility, and the life of an artist in a way that reveals the texture of everyday life—the chance meetings that can result in commonplace and profound reflections—and is soul-stirring.