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The Bobby Gold Stories

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,282 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Bestselling author Tony Bourdain is back with a new novel, his first fiction since the groundbreaking success of Kitchen Confidential.

Bobby Gold is a loveable criminal. After doing ten years in the clinker, he's out and ready for work. With not even an attempt to play it straight, he's back to breaking bones for tough guys. His turf: the club scene and restaurant racket. I
Hardcover, 1st U.S., 165 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2002)
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3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,282 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You could finish the entire thing during the course of a particularly epic bowel movement, and you get the sense it's just something Anthony Bourdain threw together to capitalize on the success of the mega bestseller Kitchen Confidential and the subsequent TV series, but who gives a shit? I don't like long books anyway, because they take forever to read, and it makes me feel like that's because I can't read well (when it's really just the book's fault), and I'm a very sensitive person, due to my ...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
I was really impressed with this book...Bourdain has a real talent for taking people out of their element and then confronting them with problems they have to solve before they can move on.
Apollo's Crow
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something comforting about this book. It isn't mind-blowingly original, yet it is quintessentially Bourdain-esque. It has the wit, the foodie tone, the badassery and underdog story. One of the fastest reads of the year for me - finished it on three lunch breaks. But that's not a bad thing. The story moves briskly without sacrificing characterization. This was the first fiction I'd read from Bourdain, who is, I unabashedly admit, one of my heroes. And I was not disappointed. I would say ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
3 1/2

It's a decent read. Started off 3-ish but improved to 4-ish as it progressed. Bobby had trouble carrying the novel, but the addition of Nikki to the proceedings helped. It moves at a comfortable pace - not quite a page turner, but easy to knock off a couple chapters in a session. Bourdain doesn't ramble or go off on unnecessary tangents, thus the book's manageable length. There are a few interesting plot twists. Decent ending.
The Katie
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bourdain fans
This was a nice book. A VERY quick read. I would almost say it is more of a novella. Although I was left wanting more from the story, he does do a good job painting the picture of the main character Bobby Gold. I am looking forward to reading more of Anthony Bourdain's books.

Also a nice touch on the copy of the book I read, it came with a ribbon for a book marker.

Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2016-reads, food
I liked this one more than I thought I would. Sometimes short stories are hard to read b/c they get choppy but these were just the right amount. Bourdain also connected them well. We got the story without all the filler. This one might be my favorite of his fiction books.
Thomas Pluck
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great crime novel. Illuminating and human
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After waking up the other morning to the news of Bourdain's death, I immediately went to my Kindle and bought everything I didn't already own. I realized that I hadn't had the pleasure of the Bobby Gold Stories yet.
Two things occurred to me while reading:
1) I didn't know Tony wrote smut. Not the best or the worst I've ever read.
2) The last chapter really opened my eyes to what must have been going on in his head all these years.
Overall, it's a short book, some grubby brain candy. It's not an aw
Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When he was just 21, Bobby Gold -- ne Goldstein -- was sold out to the cops by his childhood friend and now small-time gangster Eddie Fish. Arrested for the stash of Eddie's cocaine he was transporting, Bobby was sent upstate for a good long stretch. Years later, having built up his body in prison and mangled a couple of fellow inmates, Bobby is a free man . . . which means he has a public job as bouncer at Eddie's nightclub and a private one as Eddie's enforcer. But Bobby's a nice guy, really. ...more
Kathryn Kundick
Apr 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this book last night. Now Goodreads is asking me to recommend this book and I...I just can't do that.

One of the hygienists at my dentist's office insisted I try reading an Anthony Bourdain novel--she said she loves his writing. It took me a while to get around to his work, but I bought "The Bobby Gold Stories" and sat down for a quick read. Instead of "this is great, let's read another" I had to DRAG myself through it. I kept telling myself "just 20 more pages, just 10 mo
This was not very good, but it was certainly not bad, and it was enjoyable for what it was. I did wish that I had been Bourdain's editor and could have helped him make it a better book -- yes, arrogant, I know, but some of what I saw as poorly written in the novel surely could have been guided into better shape. Bourdain can put together good sentences and amusing ones, and while there is nothing astonishing in the plot, there does not have to be, it is a good read regardless. But the food neede ...more
This book follows the adventures of Bobby Gold, a small time crook, thug and reluctant enforcer.

As you might expect from this author there's quite a bit of excellent kitchen background to some parts of the story. In general it has all the hallmarks of Bourdain's writing, some humor, sarcasm and pointed observations on the New York club/restaurant scene.

A very short book but a bit longer than a novella. Well worth taking the time to read if you can find a copy.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
I read "Kitchen Confidential" and "A Cook's Tour" many years ago and enthusiastically recommended them to many of my friends. I picked up "Bobby Gold" back when we still had a specialist crime book store in London and it has sat on the shelf ever since. I knew that Anthony Bourdain could write, but crime fiction?. Well he can do that as well. This is very short but fast paced, punchy and involving. I have already searched out his other fiction and will set about acquiring them soon.
Had Bourdain taken a different path in life, this book could have been his memoir.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i'm on the fourth chapter and i'm pretty interested. :]
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I prefer Bourdain's food and travel essays to any of his attempts at writing longer narrative works, and Bobby Gold is no exception. The sex-swearing-mangrunts-violence very nearly bored me to tears, but I did find some passages vivid enough to stay with me long after I read this book.

It was five years or more until I first ate marrow, but it was reading this passage that first made me want to try it:
Bobby Gold, in black Ramones T-shirt, black denims and black Nikes, smeared bone marrow on toast
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-fiction
Bourdain's prose is no-nonsense, to the point and dare I say inspired by his much beloved Ramones. In 'The Bobby Gold Stories' each chapter plays on familiar riffs, whether they be gangster stories or films like 'Prizzi's Honour' or 'Goodfellas', or Bourdain's autobiography as set in the world of line chefs as seen in 'Kitchen Confidential'. The combination of these prose contexts, filtered through his punchy style of writing makes this book a pleasing, readily devoured novella.

The characters ar
May 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am addicted to Anthony Bourdain No Reservations on the Travel Channel. I am particularly attracted to Bourdain’s narration of the program. He is insightful, humorous, and eloquent.

Last night, I caught a rerun of Bourdain’s visit to London. During the program, he refers to one of his novels. Hmm, a novel? I headed to the library today and picked up Bourdain’s The Bobby Gold Stories: A Novel.

Bobby Gold is a good-hearted thug who falls for a cook, Nikki, who dreams of life on the lam. Nikki has n
Feb 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of Bourdain's non-fiction writing about his career as a chef (Kitchen Confidential), so when I read fantastic reviews about this fiction crime novel, I was eager to check it out. Luckily, it's really short. The book features Bobby Gold, just released from 10 years in prison for a drug charge. He finds a job working as some kind of bouncer/enforcer for a ne'er do well, and becomes infactuated with Nikki, a chef as one of his frequented haunts. This book is long on bone-crushing enco ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So this is definitly not a fine piece of writing...certainly not the standout that Kitchen Confidential was. But I'm a sucker for Bourdain and the best elements of this book are when his writing is set in the kitchen. This is a man who nails it when he describes the rythmn and fluidity of the kitchen and of course his mastery of kitchen patois. But it's a little too machismo, a little too cheesy gangster movie to be considered a good book. But the bits and pieces where Bourdain articulates what ...more
May 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
the last thing i read was anthony bourdain's kitchen confidential , and it's so funny how you can almost predict what's going to happen in this book because of how well you get to know him in that quasi-autobiography. this novel was ok. a quick read, and pretty funny at times, i wasn't drawn in too much. it was a 'this happened, then that happened' kind of story, with awkward non-sexy sex scenes peppered (excuse the pun) about for no discernable reason. i agree with other reviews of the book th ...more
David Macpherson
Interconnected stories, vignettes really, about a mob bruiser who works the restaurant industry. I wanted to like it more than I did. The main character is good, but everyone is very sketchy. I have heard Anthony Bourdain sing the praises of George V Higgins, and Bourdain uses that dialogue heavy style in this book, but missing some of the finesse of Higgins. I thought a few of the scenes were good, there was one where an idiot mobster spends a long time ordering off the menu and there was a sce ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Like most of Bourdain's writing, The Bobby Gold Stories: A Novel is very crisp, expletive and violent-- the very reason I enjoy it so. Still for anyone familiar with the noir genre, and for anyone who knows how they go, this book and it's crash course ending will come as no surprise. So what's this one about? Well, much like his non-fiction work, this book is about thugging and cooking.

The titular character of this book is a lovable thug whose personality finally awakens when he falls in love
Juliet Doubledee
Not one of Anthony Bourdain's best. I found this book disjointed with not much redeeming value.

I had looked forward to reading something outside the culinary world by Bourdain and heard a lot of hype about his three novels on the underworld. The writing is good, the characters are somewhat interesting, but this book should have been at least twice as long as it is. The book starts out interesting, but the future in the reader gets the more it seems that the author has begun to fall victim to a d
Short, fast paced and gritty, Bourdain slaps us into a dark tale of Bobby Gold, a guy who could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a good guy...but somehow ended up the strong arm for a short, arrogant, mob wanna-be boss.

Bobby lives a life of sparse routine, of doing what has to be done, without question. But, as usual things go awry and he is forced to make some tough calls.

Bourdain's writing is to the point, sharp, witty and has a classic style to it. His voice is unmistakable. Although the stories
Nov 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The raunchy story of a small-time arm breaker with a taste for the finer things in life, this seems partially autobiographical, except for the criminal parts. Bobby Gold (nee Goldstein) wears a Ramones tshirt(see the back of the book flap for a photo of Bourdain in one) and likes bone marrow on toast (one of Tony's favorites). He does a three-year stint in prison to protect his boss. When he gets out, his boss gives him a job as an enforcer and bouncer, a role Bobby has no stomach for. In the en ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Anthony Bourdain is rough cut. Robert Goldstein is rough cut. The Bobby Gold Stories are rough cut. So what did you expect? More a novella than the novel proclaimed on the artsy cover designed by Whitney Cookman (seriously), the tough, dirty, obscene, realistic, and mildly engaging story is at least as good as any other in the mini-genre of culinary stories involving the mob. How many are there? Well, don't forget Joseph R. Gannascoli, A Meal to Die For: A culinary novel of crime, New York: Tom ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
Pros: A quick read. Light "crime".

Cons: It was almost too quick of a read. it was almost written for a lower reading level but with too much sex in it for kids to read. And there's another thing... was this just an excuse for Bourdain to write about big cocks and sex? Because those scenes seem to get the most attention.

Considering what a fan I am of Anthony Bourdain's non-fiction work, this was a HUGE disappointment. There was nothing sexy about the sex, no real thrill about the crimes, and I wa
Dec 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not a soul
The sole reason I read this was because it was the last book I needed to fulfill a reading challenge, but honestly, I would have rathered fail the challenge than read this. It's such a waste of time. It's not well written. Calling it a book is overstating it. Calling it a collection of short stories is overstating it. It's a collection of scenes that are connected and kind of have a point. Only kind of. The one tiny blessing was that this was super short. Each story is at best 3 pages long. So t ...more
Twelve slices of the life of Bobby intriguing character our Bobby, working as a reluctant bonebreaker for Eddie Fish, Bobby views his "work of coercion & assault as jobs to be done with a craftsman's work ethic & with a minimum of force" but obviously isn't wholeheartedly embracing his work & shows he has a softer side as he offers one elderly victim painkillers before breaking his arm!

Not to everyone's taste but I quite like it.

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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 1582342334 2 20 May 23, 2013 05:30PM  
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Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.

His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.