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Gone Bamboo. Anthony Bourdain

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,599 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Henry and Frances' idyllic, tequila soaked existence in the French Caribbean is interrupted when Henry has to do a small job for the cross-dressing Mafioso, Jimmy 'Pazz' Calabrese, but it all goes wrong. ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Canongate Books (first published 1997)
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 ·  1,599 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Start your review of Gone Bamboo. Anthony Bourdain
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book with a good pace, some action, and a lot of dark comedy. Dry wit makes even the "bad" guys endearing in this one. Good beach read-not too much philosophy. This is the first of his novels I've read, and I must admit I'm intrigued by their style. Will have to read more. ...more
Kathryn in FL
This is a cleverly written, light-hearted look at mobsters and loyalties. Henry is a business man, who still does some wet work for the mob. He's very good at assassinating people, even though he is very much a people person, business is business. Henry faces some very challenging situations when his loyalty seems to eclipse his business principals. There in lies the challenges presented in this story.

Bourdain writes very good characters and you can't help rooting for some of the bad guys, beca
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a kind of second-rate novel that one wants to keep reading. The anti-hero, Henry, is who the author wishes he could be (this is plainly obvious to the reader)but Henry is also flawed enough to make him likable and believable--that one guy who's smarter, better looking and funnier than you who still drives around on a mo-ped.

The story may have big gaps in the plot and read like it was written to turn an island vacation into a tax deductible expense, but that's OK; it's not written for
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This is another Bourdain novel, this time about an ex-spook turned mob hit man who lives in the Carribean and tries to carve out a meaningful life away from "work." Unlike other Bourdain novels, this one is without food nerdiness and instead focuses entirely on plot and characters. The Bobby Gold Stories were enjoyable, but not memorable. Bone in the Throat was both, but memorable for its utter ridiculousness. Gone Bamboo was riviting to the point that it could be made into a Jason Bourne-esque ...more
It is so sad to finish reading Tony Bourdain's "Gone Bamboo." He wrote only three novels in his life, cut short by suicide: "Bone in the Throat" (1995), "Gone Bamboo" (1997) and "The Bobby Gold Stories" (2001). Publishers Weekly said he created his own genre: "wiseass crime comedy." I've read the other two and the sadness comes from this being the last. I'm angry with him for hanging himself in a hotel room in France before we got to find out what was going to happen next in his very interesting ...more
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down. The perfect read for a beach vacation! I love Bourdain's fiction writing almost better than his non-fiction accounts of what occurs in NY kitchens. His details surrounding these mafia characters is impeccable. Loved reading it. ...more
Anthony Bourdain has taken his love of mobster movies and his 'running off to the islands' fantasies and mashed them together into a nice little beach read.

Semi-retired hit man has a job go wrong and the fallout follows him back to the island resort he calls home.
Henry and Frances are likable, obviously happily married and borderline sociopaths.

Half the mobsters are likable and fleshed out, the other half are cliches.

The low key humor was nice, the more obvious 'Hey, this will be funny!' bits we
May 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I love Anthony Bourdain, but I just couldn't get into this book, or his other fiction. His non-fiction is wonderful. ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could recall what Bourdain's first fiction novel was like (I did read it, but have no recollection of the story), as it would inform me better on how his second one is, in a way. I should probably search for some interviews with him about this one, too, just to see who he was influenced by. I detect obvious Hiassen and Leonard notes, both in the subject matter, humor, and overall style, but Bourdain injects a wee bit more travel, fashion, and food sense. Sometimes these elements feel dr ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the news of Anthony Bourdain's death, I was looking for books he'd written and found this novel. It's a fun, quick read about New York gangsters and hit men. The characters were likable (those who were supposed to be likable, that is), and the writing style accessible.

Bourdain's early demise is so sad, but we're lucky that he left us with so much.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Anthony Bourdain.
TL;DR - Anthony Bourdain's fiction writing skills aren't quite up to the level of his memoir writing ability but his first attempt at a novel is fun and engaging despite numerous flaws.

Anthony Bourdain is a fan of genre fiction. This is apparent to anyone who has read his non-fiction books or watched his travel shows on t.v. He frequently references noir film and pulp heroes in his writing and has mentioned more than once that writing was a hobby for him during off time while working as the head
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was okay. To be honest, I did expect way more from Bourdain's fiction but it was pretty average.
I enjoyed the storyline but there were A LOT of people to keep track of.
I love a good piece of mob fiction but this just fell a little flat, it'd be a good holiday read.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humour
I picked this book up because of the author. I'd read another book of his before, " Typhoid Mary", and enjoyed. I also read the back cover blurb and the first page or two. It made me laugh.

I wasn't disappointed.

Henry and Frances, husband and wife, have taken up life on a Caribbean island, living the ideal beach life...they have gone bamboo - sun, sand, booze and sex. But all that is disrupted when the U.S. relocates a powerful capo, Charlie "Wagons" Iannello, to the island in a witness protectio
Kevin Rubin
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Gone Bamboo" was fun. Fast paced, quick and easy.

It opens with the main character, professional assassin, Henry, being hired by some New York mobsters to kill a couple of rivals. After fixing the price the mobsters ask if he can scare some of the others, but Henry puts his foot down, "You gentlemen want to play practical jokes on each other, buy a fuckin' whoopee cushion. I don't do that. I don't play around when I work."

He botches half the hit, at a ski resort, and then returns to his wife, an
Eve Schaub
I'm a huge, enormous, and really, kind of ridiculous fan of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, as well as his food/travel show No Reservations, so I've always pretty much assumed that someday I'd get around to picking up the two novels he wrote before his blockbuster success. When I saw Gone Bamboo in the piles at the church rummage sales I knew that the time had come.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't like Gone Bamboo very much at all. Maybe that's because I'm not a fan of "wise-ass crime co
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthony-bourdain
Gone Bamboo is the second of Anthony Bourdain's fiction stories and it's just as good as the first one Bone in the Throat. Like I've said many times, Bourdain is one of my very favorite authors and he very rarely disappoints. Sadly, he's not really writing fiction anymore and more's the pity as he seems to have a talent for it.

Gone Bamboo is the direct sequel to Bone in the Throat and does feature Tommy Pagano and his girlfriend Tracy. However, this story is seen through the eyes of the hired ki
Remember that Bourdain is a reasonably famous chef at a well known New York restaurant. Food certainly is important to him, and one of the characters, Mickey, in this second of his mob-oriented novels, is the chef to a mobster hiding under the witness protection plan in a French island in the Caribbean. Henry, a hit man, had been hired by Jimmie several years before to take out Donnie, a Mafia chieftain. Unfortunately, Donnie had only been badly wounded, had survived the shooting, and was now, s ...more
This book is much better than the other Anthony Bourdain book I'd read (Bone in the Throat). This is a continuation of the 1st book. Tommy & Cheryl have relocated to the Caribbean island as a guest of Charlie, a gangster, who is now a protected witness for the FBI. New thugs appear on the island such as Frances & Henry who apparently were agents for the CIA at one time, or that is what everyone suspects. Occasionally, Henry freelances with hit jobs and the last being Charlie (before he became an ...more
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did you know that Anthony Bourdain, chef and worldwide culinary explorer, is also the author of the fiction novel “Gone Bamboo?” Similar to the high-jinx writing style of Carl Hiassen, Dave Barry, and Elmore Leonard, Bourdain tells the story of Henry and Frances, ex-patriots and ex-assassins, who have retired to the islands. They love to eat, drink, and relax in the sun. However, when a dangerous mobster moves to their Caribbean haven, the couple will be forced out of retirement in order protect ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fun action novels
If you want drama about a war-torn middle eastern country, or hollow romance, don't read this book. If you want to read about guns, boozing, assassinations and good food, then this is the book for you. Not to mention the toughest, sexiest female lead character I've ever read about.

Anthony Bourdain writes a good action novel. I didn't even know this was a sequel to "Bone in the Throat" (since my library never has it), and it was still great!

The pace of this book is lovely. There's action interspe
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I have to admit it took two tries to finish this book. I had liked the first novel so much that this one seemed to jump the shark and I found myself skipping through chapters and skimming pages until I was totally lost. For some strange reason I did something I never do once I give up on a book and set it to go back to the library, I took it out of the library bag and restarted where it had lost me, I don't know why, maybe it was that accidental Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown/Layover/No Reservat ...more
I am trying out Bourdain's fiction, and I am quickly learning that I prefer his non-fiction. It's not that the fiction is bad, I just don't enjoy the mobster scene he writes about. And the langauge and sex references seem like they are "placed" rather that really necessary. His food details are fun, though.
I adore his non-fiction, for being gritty, funny, honest, and even respectful upon occasion (only of other cultures and other cooks, though, the rest of us can go to hell and that's why I like
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Bourdain may have the perfect life. Apart from being a great chef and writer, his name may be affixed to the best show on American television.

Before becoming a TV star, he wrote books. Kitchen Confidential put him on the map, and if you haven't read it, you should. But this book is very different. It's just fun -- violent, sex-fueled fun.

This is beach reading, except I read it in snowy Ohio over Christmas. Still, a story about a hitman and his wife trying to evade a crossdressing Mafia b
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure escapism from Anthony Bourdain (author, chef, professional traveler, TV host). This is a macho, gritty, sexy yet grim beach read - which is to say, it was a lot of fun. I challenge you to read this book and not wish you were right there with the characters in the Caribbean, whether they're drinking tequila in a dive bar on the beach or they're dodging a spray of bullets in an automatic weapon firefight. Looking past the sun, surf and sweat (and of course, food), Bourdain did a great job mak ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In a semi-continuation of "Bone in the Throat", Bourdain promises a great story but fails to deliver. Some characters are continued over from the first novel, but their personalities devolve into caricatures of their former selves, old enemies are now uncharacteristically good friends, and good and bad swap continuously. Overall the story is decent, a predictable continuation of the excellent "Bone in the Throat", but as a whole, the novel just whiffs on the fun of the first. AB hasn't written f ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chef Bourdain's second gangster novel is much funnier, sharper and more satisfying than his first. The leading character of the gun for hire Henry is believable and more personable than his earlier creations and the cast of supporting cooks, girlfriends, mobsters and gung ho security men are all well crafted.

The action fairly rattles along and Bourdain is generous with his helpings of booze, blood, drugs, sex and violence. Lashings of violence. Both funny and sad in parts, Gone Bamboo is like To
Moves some characters that had supporting roles in "Bone in the Throat," so the nostalgia is nice and the characters are much more vividly drawn this time, but it's still not a great read. The narrative plods along for a while and then suddenly leaps to what fees like the climax--my first thought was, "am I missing a few chapters here?"--and then mopves on to what feels like the beginning of a following book. ...more
Interesting book. Fun, easy read, but nothing really great about it. I wasn't impressed with the prose or the story. The only part I found fascinating was when he wrote about food. Makes sense for the guy who wrote Kitchen Confidential . ...more
Aaron Kuehn
Sep 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, THAT Anthony Bourdain, host of many cooking programs on the tele. I can’t stand the guy on TV but he sure can write! Two professional assassins are relaxing on a tropical island when someone they were hired to knock off shows up on the island in the witness protection program. It’s a cat and mouse game that makes you laugh out loud. Intrigue, humor and amateur sleuthing round out this fun read.
Gaynor Thomas
A tale of gangsters and hoodlums who are "not really bad guys" with plenty of violence, humour, and interesting protagonists - this book should have been right up my street! Not sure if it was because I was listening to it as an audiobook and the narrator had an American accent (perfectly correct as it is an American book! But I do struggle with listening to the accent at times) but this just didn't do it for me. ...more
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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.

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