Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Number One Chinese Restaurant

An exuberant and wise multigenerational debut novel about the complicated lives and loves of people working in everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant.The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s c...

Details Number One Chinese Restaurant

TitleNumber One Chinese Restaurant
Release DateJun 19th, 2018
PublisherHenry Holt and Co.
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Reviews Number One Chinese Restaurant

  • Larry H
    Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs in the mid-1980s, my family ate dinner out nearly every Sunday evening, and more often than not, we ate Chinese food, as did many other families in my town. (I used to joke that there were classmates I saw more regularly at the Chinese restaurant than I did in high school!) While there were several different Chinese restaurants in our area, and everyone had a favorite, we frequently ate at one particular resta...
  • Tori (InToriLex)
    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex Actual Rating 3.5Content Warning: Cancer, Alcoholism, Mental Illness, Organized CrimeA refreshing view into the lives of people through their association with The Beijing Duck House and the people who run it. The book switches between three main point of views, Jimmy Han the owner of The Beijing Duck House, Nan the manager of the restaurant and Ah-Jack an aging waiter who is struggling to support his sic...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    Although restaurants provide centerpieces of the novel, there are other invitations for potential life changing confrontations framed by the food, and the way in which that food is prepared and offered gives scenes immediacy as well as normalization of what could be explosive situations. This is true of almost every culture. Discordant exchanges are either enhanced or softened by the sharing of a meal, and Lillian Li slyly incorporates such pract...
  • Alex
    This novel is a feast to me in many respects. First, it is full of psychological dramas in multiple main characters, not only about the conflicts in their minds as they act, but also including sketches of the psychological development in their lives. These owners and workers of the Chinese restaurant confess and tell their life stories, in addition to the restaurant scene as seen from a narrator. As a bonus a work scene of cooks of a non-Chinese ...
  • ☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
    I liked this book but don't think this would be a story that I would read again. I like the cover and I like the characters but don't like how none of the characters really understand each other.and I feel there is too much going on at once. I worked at a Chinese Restaurant for years and I still felt that it was lacking something. The book was likable enough and I do feel that some will enjoy this very much so they could learn how things work in ...
  • James
    if you've read "tiger mom", "everything i never told you", and "crazy rich asians", THIS is the next book you HAVE to readLove how you see asian immigrants vs. their children born in america (both contained in the umbrella term "asian american" despite being so different)
  • Jenny
    I used to work at a Chinese restaurant many years ago. This book brought back so many of my memories. It made all those people I used to work with alive again. The love, expectations, frustrations, conflicts and struggles between the two generations (first generation of immigrant Chinese parents and second generation of American born Chinese) also touched me deeply, like Nan and her son Pat, Johnny and his daughter Annie, Jimmy and his strong min...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    I didn't know much about this book before I started, but the little I knew ended up giving me a totally wrong impression. Yes, there's a lot in this book about family, the family you make, and the complicated lives of immigrants. But to me this is a book about dysfunctional families and insurance fraud, not quite what I expected.I connected with Li's writing right away, I liked her style and her voice. What I liked most about the novel was the de...
  • Kevin Hu
    I received this book from NetGalley and was excited to dive into a fiction that dealt with themes surrounding the Chinese restaurant life. I personally grew up as a product of this very niche subculture. I think that Li does some things well here. She illuminates the generational barrier that disallows a conventionally intimate relationship between 1st gen parents, who toil endlessly to pave the way for their progeny, and the 2nd gen children who...
  • Chris W
    interesting analysis of the many roles of food and sharing meals togetherpushes the concept of what constitutes a "family" - definitely not your stereotypical or boring "love you no matter what" kind of family you see so often in american literatureenjoyed seeing the dramatic business side of the industry, not just the food, as wellfantastic read! consumed it in one sitting; couldn't stop myself
  • ns510
    3.5 stars.This book read like a Chinese serial. All the drama and soap opera-esque antics set within a Chinese family restaurant in the US, complete with a Godfather-like peripheral figure no one likes but everyone fears. Amidst all this is a more nuanced depiction of what it means to be a family, a dynasty, to be immigrants, and the stories we tell the world about ourselves. I liked how it showed the different ways one can be Chinese American/Am...
  • Pam
    Thank you NetGalley for a digital advanced copy. Sadly, I did not like this book at all. I had considered DNF at 25 percent in but persisted. There was nothing about the main family to like at all. I don’t mind flawed characters, but I need to also like the characters and I did not. There were two secondary characters Nan and Jack, and Nan’s son that I had some empathy for their story. But all these characters were just sad and some of them m...
  • Kayo
    Delightful book. Characters that make you want to read the next page. So much going on, but exactly how you'd like to spend an afternoon reading. Thank you to Henry, Holt and Company, NetGalley and author for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
  • Fey Fan
    beautiful moments of poetry so well inserted into each chapter I found myself re-reading entire paragraphs over and over just to make sure I fully-appreciated the full effect of Lillian Li's words; no idea how she manages to be so subtle yet so powerful, but she does it wellthe multi-faceted storyline also has plenty to be enjoyed for the more casual readers as well!
  • Ming
    Thanks to Henry Holt & Company and NetGallery for this advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. Its general description is amply available on GoodReads, on Amazon and elsewhere.I truly enjoyed this book. Initially, I had some reservations that it would be another immigrant tale populated by immigrants fumbling along to achieve “the” American dream. Instead, it’s about dreams and hopes and how they change you by having them....
  • Donna
    Agitated. That’s how I felt reading Number One Chinese Restaurant. I felt agitated and unsettled throughout the entire book. The characters agitated me on almost every page, as they argued with and annoyed each other on a constant basis. This is the story of a Chinese family, the Hans, and the restaurant dynasty they’ve struggled to maintain for several decades. Alongside the Hans are their employees, friends, and business acquaintances, some...
  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    3.5 Stars. Review to follow.
  • Jane
    Thanks to LibraryThing and Holt publishing for this ARC.I really enjoyed this book about a Chinese restaurant in Rockville, MD (where I live coincidentally, though it never mentions the name) and it's quirky characters working in the restaurant and the family dynamics of Jimmy and Johnny the two brothers who own it. I really liked the blending of the employees and the close camaraderie of the Chinese community in the restaurant.
  • Wendi Lee
    *3.75 stars*There’s a lot of good things to say about this book about a Chinese restaurant and the people who work there. Brothers Jimmy and Johnny Han own the business, but that’s where all similarities end. There’s also Nan and Ah-Jack, employees who have been there since the very beginning, still struggling to make ends meet and untangle their complicated feelings for one another. It was a compelling read, with lots of soap-operaesque tw...
  • Rebecca
    Chinese-American sons (Johnny and Jimmy) inherit Beijing Duck House restaurant from their parents. But, are their dreams the same as their parents'? Older brother Johnny wishes to repair his relationship with his 19 year old daughter, Annie, while Jimmy longs to own a restaurant of his own. What price are they willing to pay to make their dreams come true? And, how will their decisions affect their long-time employees, Nan and Jack, and their fam...
  • Anita
    Wow, this book really makes you feel . The characters are complex and all have a myriad of personalities. The language is so creative and expressive. The pain the characters feel, whether physical or emotional, isn't just an abstract concept in this book. Through Li's painstakingly honest descriptions, my heart genuinely felt pain and anger for each character. The concepts of love and family are also thoroughly explored in this novel through the...
  • Topher G
    dark humor intermingled with lighthearted themes:
  • Annie Wang
    In the first half of the book, it took some patience for me to follow the story—the life and dream of Jimmy, his brother Johnny, his mother Feng Fei, his father’s friend, Uncle Pang, the restaurant manager Nan, and waiters, busboys, … . I was completed attracted in the second half of the book. At the end, I suddenly realized, there are some much deeper meanings in the story. Jimmy, who has worked for 30 years in his father’s restaurant, j...
  • amanda eve
    I don't believe that characters have to be particularly likable, but they do have to be interesting. There wasn't a single character I cared about; some were outright obnoxious but most were just mildly irritating. There were a few really lovely turns of phrase; unfortunately, I was bored by the story over all.
  • Kate Olson
    I was given an opportunity to read an early copy of this title with the agreement that I would hold my full review until publication date. With that being said, I highly recommend this to the following types of readers:1) Fans of family/domestic fiction2) Fans of foodie fiction3) Fans of books about the immigrant experience in America4) Readers looking to expand their cultural experiences
  • Anthony Martinez
    Shines light on the world of the high-class chinese restaurant industry, a cuisine that is almost never regarded as high-class
  • Brian Hu
    I found this book to be incredibly relatable and am thankful to know I am not alone in my experiences
  • Andre
    3.5⭐Stars. The Beijing Duck House is the Han family restaurant and the centerpiece of this novel about a dysfunctional family. Although dysfunction reigns humor is never far from the page and the crazy mysterious Uncle Pang is a shadowy gangster type who seemingly has his hand in everything as the ultimate puppet master. Bobby Han is the patriarch of the family and his dream of a Chinese restaurant in America comes to fruition in Rockville, MD....
  • Donna Davis
    Lillian Li’s debut novel , a tale of intra-family rivalry, intrigue, and torn loyalties is a barn burner; it captured my attention at the beginning, made me laugh out loud in the first chapter, and it never flagged. Many thanks go to Net Galley and Henry Holt Company, from whom I received a review copy in exchange for this honest review. Don’t let yourself miss this one. It will be available to the public Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The book open...