The great fiction reading adventure of 2010: Part 2.
29 July 2010
I love, love, LOVE Anthony Bourdain's nonfiction. I loved him when I read his first foul-mouthed memoir Kitchen Confidential, and I loved him even more when I read his essay collection The Nasty Bits, in which he told the story of accepting some food award and telling a roomful of NYC foodie notables that none of them would have any food to eat or restaurant staffing to speak of without immigrants, illegal or otherwise. I can't wait to read his new collection, Medium Raw, although I haven't heard great things about it.
I still remember browsing one day, long ago, in Barnes and Noble, and coming across a novel by Bourdain titled Bone in the Throat. Huh, I thought. He writes novels too! (It was actually published before Kitchen Confidential) And although that was years ago, I'd always vaguely thought about getting the book from the library. And now I finally got around to it!
It's a pretty standard mystery/mafia novel, in which Bourdain's main character Tommy is a sous chef who comes from a "connected" family, but who would rather cook than learn the family business. And he's almost out of it, too, until his uncle (more of a father figure, really, since Tommy's father "disappeared" when he was small) asks him for one small favor. Tommy is to let his uncle and two other men into the restaurant where he works, after hours, for what Tommy thinks will just be a little chat.
Some fairly graphic details of jobs you should NOT use your good kitchen knives for follow.
I wouldn't say this was a caper novel, or particularly light-hearted, but I found it to be a quick and enjoyable read, with a pretty satisfying ending and good characterization. And the descriptions of the food and cooking? Pure Bourdain, by which I mean, spectacular.
Today's fiction lesson: Like Bourdain's nonfiction? You'll probably like his novels as well.