Two Comic Novels
“‘Eat more, Meddy. You should keep your strength up for tomorrow,’ Big Aunt says in Mandarin, plopping two pieces of braised pork ribs on my plate while I carefully place dumplings on everyone else’s plates and pour them tea. Second Aunt cuts the char siu baos into two each and places one half on everyone’s plate. The table being round means all the dishes are equally within reach of everyone, but Chinese family meals aren’t complete without everyone serving food to everyone else, because doing so shows love and respect, which means we all need to do it in the most attention-seeking way possible. What’s the point of giving Big Aunt the biggest siu mai if nobody else notices?” (p. 9)
At a very formal meal at the beautiful English home of Nathan’s parents, her auntie embarrasses her in various ways:
“As we help ourselves to the feast, I catch sight of Big Aunt dipping into her handbag. Oh no. I already know what she’s going to get before she even takes it out. It’s like I’m moving in slow motion. I reach behind Second Aunt to grab Big Aunt’s hand, but I’m too late. The bottle of chili sauce is placed on the table with an earth-shattering thunk….
“This is why I can never take my family to nice restaurants. I’ve tried explaining countless times why it’s rude to bring your own chili sauce to restaurants or other people’s homes, but they just don’t get it. ‘In Indonesia, everybody bring their own chili sauce everywhere,’ Ma would say. ‘Why you call that rude? Is just practical. Everybody like different kind of chili, if host is good, host will provide all the different brands. But we be understanding, don’t put that kind of pressure on host. We bring our own.’” (p. 52-53)
Sutanto is a new author to me. I read a review of her most recent book, Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, in the Washington Post (here) and thought I'd see if I liked her older books. Now I might read the new one too!
Two Serious Books
“The majority of Americans believe the economy is benefitting the rich and harming the poor. The majority believe the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. The majority support a $15 federal minimum wage. Why, then, aren’t our elected officials representing the will of the people? This we must demand of them.” (p. 188)
What I'm Reading Next
|This is the 13th in the Ruth Gaolloway series|
by Elly Griffiths. I've read numbers 1-12.