Following on the Giller Prize-nominated and Governor General's Literary Award-winning success of Ru, Kim Thúy's latest novel is a triumph of poetic beauty and a moving meditation on how love and food are inextricably entwined.
Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband - a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal.
Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef. Gracefully she practices her art, with food as her medium. She creates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time and place, and even bring her customers to tears.
Mãn is a mystery - her name means "perfect fulfillment", yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair.
Full of indelible images of beauty, delicacy and quiet power, Mãn is a novel that begs to be savoured for its language, its sensuousness and its love of life.
"This slim, wondrous book tells a story of love, food, passion and life rooted between worlds." (Maclean's)
"A delicate and vital love story.... The writing is both heartbreaking and insistent." (Toronto Star)
"A story that is ageless and universal, and exquisitely told." (Winnipeg Free Press)