By Monique Truong
The booklet of Salt serves up a unconditionally unique tackle Paris within the Nineteen Thirties in the course of the eyes of Binh, the Vietnamese prepare dinner hired by means of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Viewing his recognized mesdames and their entourage from the kitchen in their rue de Fleurus domestic, Binh observes their family entanglements whereas looking his personal position on the planet. In a enthralling story of craving and betrayal, Monique Truong explores Paris from the salons of its artists to the darkish nightlife of its outsiders and exiles. She takes us again to Binh's younger servitude in Saigon lower than colonial rule, to his existence as a galley hand at sea, to his short, fateful encounters in Paris with Paul Robeson and the younger Ho Chi Minh.
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Extra info for The Book of Salt
The fourteenth century thus appears to be that which it is, historically speaking: a period of transition, in which old and new intermingle, and the outlines of a future construction can be perceived. The attitude of a man who knows he finds himself at a moment of historic change is perhaps best expressed by the works of Francis Petrarch (1304–74). 1 It is obvious that the collective consciousness began to doubt the loadbearing pillars of the old order, which appeared to be about to buckle. Both nature and culture seemed to have betrayed late medieval man by failing to guarantee his survival.
In the thirteenth century, meanwhile, it was the popes who took it upon themselves in their official capacity to promote significant collections of laws: Gregory IX in 1234, Boniface VIII in 1298 and John XXII in 1317. The Church thus began to gather together what would become known, in an echo of Justinian’s great work, as the Corpus iuris canonici (the ‘Body of Canon Law’). The technical features of this very particular form of law, shaped by the specific demands of the Church’s pastoral mission, were those collected very adeptly by Ivo of Chartres, as recounted in the section above.
This model was provided by Roman law. During the early Middle Ages, Roman law had scraped by, donning the ragged clothes which befitted its forgotten status. Roman law became ‘vulgarized’, as Romanists call it, absorbing the simple, factual, effective traits of its social context and letting the high pinnacles of refined legal erudition fall into disrepair. To give an example: the most precious resource of Roman law, the fifty volumes of Justinian’s Pandecta, which held the treasures of classical legal scholarship, were unknown throughout the early Middle Ages.