Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962) was a traveler, bon vivant, essayist, creator of the irrepressible Madeline (one of the beloved twelve little girls who lived in an old house in Paris), and much, much more. He was already a giant figure in the world of books—for adults and children alike—well before chef/writer/television star Anthony Bourdain announced to the world that this was one author who everyone just had to read. We at KAL know quite well Tony’s impact: he made that declaration here in the store in 2011, while filming an episode of his hit show, The Layover.
Since then, the episode has aired again and again, perhaps hundreds of times, and the demand for La Bonne Table has soared beyond imagination. There is only one problem. Even at that time, the book, an entrancing posthumous collection of semi-autobiographical essays about food and the world of restaurants—with drawings by Bemelmans—was no longer in print. Our last paperback copy of the book was the one that Bourdain waved in front of the camera, and bought. Prices on line have soared, with dealers routinely asking more than a hundred dollars for used copies. It’s been painful to watch.
To our delight, Boston publisher David R. Godine has come to the rescue with a handsome reprint, including all of Bemelmans’ illustrations from the book’s original edition.
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