Eat First, Talk Later: A memory of food, family and home
In this dazzling memoir Beth persuades her ageing parents on a road trip around their former home, Malaysia. She intends to retrace their honeymoon of 45 years before, but their journey doesn’t quite work out as she planned. Only the family mantra ‘Eat first, talk later’ keeps them (and perhaps the country) from falling apart. Around them, corruption, emacensorship of the media, detentions without trial and deaths in custody continue. Protests are put down, violently, by riot police.
Her parents argue, while, lovelorn after the end of a grand amour in Paris, Beth tries to turn their story into a Technicolor love story for the big screen. Meanwhile, she’s embroiled in a turbulent relationship with an opposition activist, Jing, who is at the forefront of the democratic
struggle for change.
Eat First, Talk Later is a beautifully written, absorbing memoir that moves between Australia, where Beth lives, and Malaysia – a country considered one of the multiracial success stories of South-East Asia, with many fascinating, yet deeply troubling, sides to it. It’s a book about how we tell family and national stories; about love and betrayal; home and belonging; and about the joys of food.