I, like so many others in the world, still mourn the loss of Anthony Bourdain and have difficulty accepting that he’s no longer here, difficulty accepting, still, that he’s not here by his own hand. So when the opportunity to once more “hear his voice” in a book presented itself, I jumped at it, as I had feared I would never read a new word of his again.
From the back cover:
Anthony Bourdain always downplayed his skills as a chef (many disagreed). But despite his modesty, one thing even he agreed with was that he was a born raconteur – made clear in this collection of sparkling conversations. His wit, passion, and intelligence shine through here, whether in a heart-to-heart with a blogger, an on-stage talk before a massive crowd, or an intense interview with a news anchor. Without fail, Bourdain is blisteringly honest and insightful – such as when discussing his battles with addiction, or his feelings about restaurant critics, or the politics and history revealed by what’s on your plate. And always in the fore is the heartfelt empathy he developed traveling the world for his TV shows. In short, these talks make the “Hemingway of gastronomy,” as chef Marco Pierre White called him, live again.
I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lapsed into “enough already Sarah, move on” territory with my continued reminiscence and reading about a man I never met, but who played a crucial role in forming my worldview. But as the continued outpouring of tributes and books about him and his life show, I’m not the only one. Our world could use his voice and message now more than ever.
He taught us about food – but more importantly about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.Barack obama
I wish more of that unifying spirit was captured in this collection. It’s a great one to be sure – covering a wide range of topics from his life as a chef to his final months being involved in the #metoo campaign. It’s pure Tony and yet it’s not – the first time his words have been collected by someone else in print. But that is how it will have to be from now on – each of us cobbling together the words he gave us, the words we like best, to try to make sense of this loss.
The Last Interview. It now feels final. Like he’s actually really definitely not coming back, the universe isn’t playing some cruel joke on those of us who hoped for a bigger, better, brighter world, full of unique, understanding, and unifying people. Because that’s what he did – he brought the world together, showed the world we’re not all that different from each other.
These are his last literary last words, selected by someone else. And, as excited as I was to read the advance copy of this book, I think I’d rather his last literary words be from the pages of Appetites, his cookbook, and exploration of his new life as a father. As a family man – someone who put the lives of others above his own. Because that’s how I want to remember him, to tell myself that whatever demons he faced, he really did care so much about the world that he put others’ needs above his own.
Rating: 9 out of 10, because without his input into the essay chosen, it can’t be perfect