The Birdwoman's Palate
In this exhilarating culinary novel, a woman’s road trip through Indonesia becomes a discovery of friendship, self, and other rare delicacies.
Aruna is an epidemiologist dedicated to food and avian politics. One is heaven, the other earth. The two passions blend in unexpected ways when Aruna is asked to research a handful of isolated bird flu cases reported across Indon...more
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As it became clearer that there was no real plot arc or structure to the book, and that the avian flu subplot was an odd McGuffin, I revised my opinion to perhaps a 3 out of 5. After all, there ...more
Note how that doesn't say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but there's really no denying that it's a hot mess of a novel basically redeemed by lyrical and passionate food writing.
As other reviewers have mentioned, trying to tie a culinary road trip around Indonesia with a subplot about avian flu epidemiology and government corruption is weird at best, and never fully gels. At one point the characters take a detour for a luscious duc ...more
I was drawn to the story line. I like epidemiological mysteries and I enjoy food writing. It seemed an intriguing combination.
I made it through 40% and could not read any more. The writing is good, but drawn out and laborious. There were several chapters that developed characters, which I thought could have been significantly condensed without losing the plot.
The author seems to be forcing together several disparate items together, i.e. champagne ...more
The main reason I read this book and slogged through it was because of its focus on Indonesia ...more
‘Aruna & Lidahnya’ revolves around a gastronomical journey around the most exotic cities of Indonesia, which goes hand in hand with an expedition to unravel a strange Avian flu epidemic—with a hint of conspiracies. Aruna, the main protagonist, mostly becomes an observ ...more
This felt like it took a lot longer to read than it actually did. The plot was...confusing and not really linear. BUT the writing was pretty strong and pretty.
I started this novel believing it was going to mostly be about food and a bit about avian flu and possibly the conflict between being a “foodist” (nod to Nadezhda) and the dangers the food industry presents. I was wrong. There’s only a sprinkle of avian flu in this novel- it’s at least 80% food and travel, so that assumption was correct. That said, I was blindsided by a book that is a lot about food (the food porn!!!) but also a lot about an imperfect protagonist ...more
Subject of avian flu sounded also very interes ...more
Such an interesting read on so many levels!
Food, work, politics, corruption, world health, love , friendships, family relationships, travels, egos... Beautifully written and very insightful. I looked forward to spending time in this book and as with all good reads I was sad to come to it's end. Delightful book that you will want to devour.
I've read many books with meh plots and characterization that I still enjoyed because of the food descriptions (but then I'm someone who reads cookbooks for fun). Unfortunately, the food part just wasn't there.
In large part this is because I'm coming to it as an American, reading the English translation, and completely unfamiliar ...more
Aruna, works for an NGO that consults with a Ministry in Indonesia. Her description of the work there is one anybody working on a Ministry in Bolivia or any other developing country will make.
I enjoyed the way Aruna describes the food. Although most of the names sound strange, it is interesting how the author is able to convey the pasion Aruna feels for the food.
And yes, it is a love story that, as in real life itse ...more
I enjoyed the character or Aruna, but I wish she'd been given something to do other than wander from restaurant to restaurant (literally, the second half of the group's journey is truly going from one to the next, like... don't they ever get full?). At the outset, the j ...more
From here the ...more
She is the author of two collections of poetry (one of which, Ellipsis, appeared in the 2005 Herald UK Books of the Year pages); a trea ...more