by Gloria M (San Jose): Imagine you are 29 and the world has descended into chaos because of climate change. There is little food, scarce water, no hope for anyone except the wealthy and powerful. Definitely a likely scenario given the current scientific evidence. What if you were a chef, with no remaining family or friends, and your identity is in dire peril since your career is gone? What would you do and how much would you be willing to sacrifice to land the coveted position as culinary artist for an affluent businessman, his daughter and their exclusive rich guests?

C Pam Zhang’s main character in “Land of Milk and Honey” faces just such a dilemma. Her life is bleak, and she lies about her qualifications on her resume and application. Though her employers know this, she still gets the position because she writes “I will faithfully perform any task within reason, and with dignity.” Little does she know her offer of compliance will take her down a perilous path.

The language in this novel is beautiful, descriptive and sensuous. The details about the gorgeous compound and the ingredients available and the meals created are simply amazingly composed. The relationship that is a major focus of the narrative is intimate and powerful. Through flashbacks the past is revealed, explaining how she arrives at this point in her life. Compelling and relevant, it is a work that will linger in the mind of the reader for quite some time. That said, it is difficult to actually like any of the people in this book. From the poor who make impossible deals just to try and survive to the uber rich who only want to flourish at any costs, no one wants to do the right thing until they are forced into a corner. Still, it is an absolute must read!