Friday, August 10, 2012

“Gone Bamboo” – Book Review



Recently, I read “Gone Bamboo”, a novel by Anthony Bourdain.


Henry is a CIA-trained assassin who was hired to take out Charlie, a mobster on the verge of giving it all up to the Feds.  But when Charlie survives the attempted hit, Henry and his wife Frances go into semi-retirement on a Caribbean island where they live in a hotel and spend their days drinking on the sun-drenched beach.  After Charlie recovers and flips to the FBI, he is then placed in the Federal Government’s Witness relocation program and ultimately winds up on the same island as Henry and Frances.  Once a transvestite mob boss discovers where they’re both located, he sets out to have them whacked – but can Henry and Charlie put their past behind them in order to team up to escape the murder attempt and exact revenge on the mob?



Chef, television personality and author Anthony Bourdain has long had an affinity for The Mafia – doubtless due to the fact that some of the restaurants where he used to work were likely mob-owned and run.  His recent hosting gig on AMC’s Mob Week attests to his affection for these stories, as do some of his novels -- “Gone Bamboo” being one of them (previously reviewed here), “Bone In The Throat” being another.  He writes with great verve and humor in general as well as throughout this book in particular.  As dangerous as these characters are, he somehow manages to imbue them with humanity and wit. 

Given the fact that the book is such a quick read (I breezed through the first 21 of its 46 chapters in an entire afternoon), it is perfect for either a vacation read or for the beach in these waning days of summer.  Between its story’s strong forward momentum, the author’s writing style and his unique sense of humor, “Gone Bamboo” is ultimately quite entertaining mind candy that can be consumed in rather short order.  Also, given the fact that much of the action takes place on a Caribbean island (likely Saint Martin), this makes it an ideal beach or vacation read as well. 

A couple of months ago, it was announced that Bourdain’s “Bone In The Throat” would finally be made into a movie; exactly what took so long is hard to say since the book was published a number of years ago – in all likelihood, it probably wound up optioned many times, each instance of which resulting in the Hollywood Hell of turnaround on each and every occasion.  Regardless, I would hope that this will motivate a studio executive to want to produce a motion picture version of “Gone Bamboo” as this would almost certainly make an excellent film as well – especially if Bourdain himself was hired to write its screenplay.   

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