The architecture was spare and utilitarian, almost ascetic, as though any kind of ornamentation would distract from the task of creating soy sauce.
My father, my uncle, and I were standing on the steps of the building that housed the office staff, and each time the glass door swung open, a wave of air conditioning rushed out, providing temporary relief from the heat. If my father noticed my discomfort, he chose to ignore it. He checked his old-fashioned flip phone for missed calls.
He removed his glasses and began to polish them on the edge of his shirt. When he caught me watching, he smiled.
Tiny lines radiated outward from his temples as if etched into his skin with a fine-toothed comb. It was a simple smile, involuntary—the kind of smile you flashed at a toddler wearing a funny hat—and in spite of myself, I smiled back.
Soy Sauce for Beginners book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her flou. Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. When Gretchen Lin returns to her family home in Singapore, her intention is to stay just long enough to decide what to do about .
On my other side, my uncle pulled an already limp handkerchief from his pocket and swiped it across the back of his neck. Where Ba was wiry and compact, Uncle Robert was tall and wide by Singaporean standards, with an ample belly perched precariously atop his belt. He grinned at me.
Singaporeans take perverse pride in the local climate, where temperatures rise to the high eighties year round and never dip below seventy-five degrees. Our tiny island sits off the southernmost tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Southeast Asia, just one degree shy of the equator. During my time in the Bay Area, I learned to keep my mouth shut when my American friends complained of the humidity. Standing there on the front steps with my silk blouse pasted to my back, I thought of crisp San Francisco fall days, of warm sunlight on cold skin.
All Rights Reserved. Skip to main content.
Close close Donate. Close Close. BBC Newsday Value this story? Why it's notable: "Chen's debut illustrates a young woman caught between east and west … a lighthearted glimpse into the rapidly changing culture and economy of Singapore," says Publishers Weekly.
As we moved down a corridor lined with framed black-and-white photographs, I paused at my favorite, which showed my grandfather with a full head of silver hair and the lopsided grin that had been passed through my father to me. Grilled mushrooms with rosemary, garlic and soy butter. He checked his old-fashioned flip phone for missed calls. But Ba dismissed my concerns. Friend's Email Address. A satisfying and insightful novel. Stock Image.
A taste: "We are a family who can talk endlessly about soybeans and all of their intricacies. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, a pediatric oncology fellow.
On Gretchen : "I began by wanting to write about a girl who is trying to find her home. That part is very autobiographical. Returning to Singapore: "I just got off the plane a couple of hours ago.