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The Sweetest Fruits: A Novel

por Monique Truong

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
482423,023 (4)3
"A sublime, many-voiced novel of voyage and reinvention" (Anthony Marra) "[Truong] imagines the extraordinary lives of three women who loved an extraordinary man [and] creates distinct, engaging voices for these women" (Kirkus Reviews) Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Lit Hub and The Millions A Greek woman tells of how she willed herself out of her father's cloistered house, married an Irish officer in the British Army, and came to Ireland with her two-year-old son in 1852, only to be forced to leave without him soon after. An African American woman, born into slavery on a Kentucky plantation, makes her way to Cincinnati after the Civil War to work as a boarding house cook, where in 1872 she meets and marries an up-and-coming newspaper reporter. In Matsue, Japan, in 1891, a former samurai's daughter is introduced to a newly arrived English teacher, and becomes the mother of his four children and his unsung literary collaborator. The lives of writers can often best be understood through the eyes of those who nurtured them and made their work possible. In The Sweetest Fruits, these three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan. In their own unorthodox ways, these women are also intrepid travelers and explorers. Their accounts witness Hearn's remarkable life but also seek to witness their own existence and luminous will to live unbounded by gender, race, and the mores of their time. Each is a gifted storyteller with her own precise reason for sharing her story, and together their voices offer a revealing, often contradictory portrait of Hearn. With brilliant sensitivity and an unstinting eye, Truong illuminates the women's tenacity and their struggles in a novel that circumnavigates the globe in the search for love, family, home, and belonging.… (mais)
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It is not a bad book but I just found it rather dull with fairly unengaging characters. Aletheta was the most interesting story but it was so inconsistent that I never really got the energy together to figure out what was going on. Only about 3/4 of the way through did I finally wonder if there actually was a Lofcadio Hearn to find our there was. Clearly, I am not clever enough to know him or his work but this didn't make me want to seek it out.
  amyem58 | Oct 11, 2020 |
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong is the imagined story of three women who were all attached to Greek-Irish writer Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. Ms. Truong came to the US as a refugee from Vietnam, and is an award winning, bestselling author.

The novel is divided into three parts, three women talking about their relationship to Lafcadio Hearn. The first is his mother, a Greek woman who married an Irish officer in the British Army to get out of her father’s house. She followed her husband to Ireland, only to be forced to leave him.

The second, a former slave, an African-American woman from a Kentucky plantation. Making her way to Cincinnati after the Civil war working at a boarding house cook. At the boarding house she meets, and marries Hearn who is trying to make his name as a reporter.

The third, a Japanese woman named Matsue who got married to the new English teacher… Mr. Hearn. Matsue, a samurai’s daughter, gives birth to four children and collaborates with Hearn in his literary ventures.

I knew nothing about Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, I actually only found out he was a real person after finishing to read this book. The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong is the author’s attempt to tell the readers about the Greek-Irish writer through the women who knew him throughout his life, through their words, acts, and deeds.

The book has its ups and downs, the last third took a bit of concentration and perseverance, but overall I though that the writing was witty, and the narrative sharp. The author does not shy away from showing the humanity and flaws in the women who tell the story, as well as Mr. Hearn who had a tremendous impact on each one of their lives.

I almost skipped this book because the synopsis made it seem like it would be a history of one of those “great men” no-one had heard about. Instead we get different view points of what made Mr. Hearn’s voice so memorable to his fans, through tales from the women who fell by the wayside, but have had as much an impact on the writer as he had on himself.

What I thought was remarkable is that the author did not make Mr. Hearn the villain, nor the antagonist even though the story is told through the eyes of the women who loved him, the ones he loved back, and did wrong during his life. The author simply implies that due to childhood disability and dark skin he can relate to people who were marginalized at the time, and some are still marginalized today.

Frankly, I had no sympathy for Hearn, I am not familiar with his work and – even though I don’t think it was the author’s intention – he comes off as a jerk, arrogant, and even cruel. Even though Mr. Hearn is the focus of the book, the women telling it, survivors one and all, are the ones to give the reader insight. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Jul 23, 2020 |
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"A sublime, many-voiced novel of voyage and reinvention" (Anthony Marra) "[Truong] imagines the extraordinary lives of three women who loved an extraordinary man [and] creates distinct, engaging voices for these women" (Kirkus Reviews) Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Lit Hub and The Millions A Greek woman tells of how she willed herself out of her father's cloistered house, married an Irish officer in the British Army, and came to Ireland with her two-year-old son in 1852, only to be forced to leave without him soon after. An African American woman, born into slavery on a Kentucky plantation, makes her way to Cincinnati after the Civil War to work as a boarding house cook, where in 1872 she meets and marries an up-and-coming newspaper reporter. In Matsue, Japan, in 1891, a former samurai's daughter is introduced to a newly arrived English teacher, and becomes the mother of his four children and his unsung literary collaborator. The lives of writers can often best be understood through the eyes of those who nurtured them and made their work possible. In The Sweetest Fruits, these three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan. In their own unorthodox ways, these women are also intrepid travelers and explorers. Their accounts witness Hearn's remarkable life but also seek to witness their own existence and luminous will to live unbounded by gender, race, and the mores of their time. Each is a gifted storyteller with her own precise reason for sharing her story, and together their voices offer a revealing, often contradictory portrait of Hearn. With brilliant sensitivity and an unstinting eye, Truong illuminates the women's tenacity and their struggles in a novel that circumnavigates the globe in the search for love, family, home, and belonging.

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