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La Bonne Table

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879238087
ISBN-10: 0879238089
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ludwig Bemelmans was an essayist, humorist, novelist, artist and an author of books for children. Hansi was the first of Bemelmans' fifteen children's books. It was very well received by most reviewers, but it was Madeline, which brought Bemelmans his greatest success.

Although Bemelmans became famous for his Madeline books, he always considered himself more an artist illustrator than a writer, and later in life he became a serious painter with works now on display in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museé National d'Art of Paris.

Besides children's books, Bemelmans wrote adult books and was a contributor of many magazines, including Vogue and The New Yorker. Bemelmans also did many cover illustrations for The New Yorker.


Product Details

  • Series: Nonpareil Book (Book 58)
  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Nonpareil Books (September 8, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879238089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879238087
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ludwig Bemelmans (April 27, 1898-October 1, 1962), Austro-American essayist, humorist, novelist, artist, and author of books for children, was born in Meran, in the Tyrol, in territory that was then Austrian and is now Italian. In 1914, he arrived in New York with letters of introduction to managers of several large hotels. Having worked his way up to a position as a waiter at the Ritz-Carlton, he left to enlist in the United States Army in 1917. Eventually he opened his own restaurant; only in 1934 did he turn to writing, at the suggestion of a friend in publishing who, noticing the whimsical paintings with which he covered the walls of his apartment, urged him to undertake a children's book. Hansi, the first of Bemelmans' fifteen books for children, beguiled most reviewers with its simple watercolor illustrations and nostalgic story of two children and their dog in the Austrian Tyrol. His greatest success, however, was Madeline, a rhymed picture book about a Parisian schoolgirl who becomes the envy of her classmates when her appendix is removed. Indeed, the Madeline books, of which there were five, remain the work that Bemelmans is primarily remembered for. The inspired amateurishness of the illustrations and the sophisticated doggerel verses have been an influence on later juvenile literature. Madeline's Rescue, the second book in the series, was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1953. Bemelmans claimed to have no imagination, and all his books were the more or less direct product of his experience. He described his life as a restaurateur in Life Class and Hotel Splendide, his travels to Ecuador and Italy in The Donkey Inside and Italian Holiday, and his stint as a Hollywood screenwriter in the novel Dirty Eddie. At the time of his death he was working on the story of his childhood. Bemelmans was a genial satirist and lover of life, but a serious intent often underlay his humor, especially in his novels. A case in point is Blue Danube, a fanciful story set on an island of the Danube, the comedy of which is very much clouded by the appearance of a band of odious Nazis. A somewhat more successful novel was Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, concerning the unusual journey of an elderly Ecuadorian general from his villa in Biarritz to his home in South America. From the time of his marriage to Madeline Freund in 1935 (they had one daughter, Barbara) until his death in New York of pancreatic cancer, Bemelmans traveled, painted, and generally wrote a book or two a year. Reviewing his posthumous novel, the comic love story The Street Where the Heart Lies, Burling Lowrey in Saturday Review called Bemelmans "a superb craftsman with a sure eye for atmospheric detail and a supremely accurate ear for the speech of Adult Innocents madly in love with the unattainable.. . He was a complete original, with an absolutely unique temperament and view toward the world."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book is a charming and witty evocation of the gourmet world of Ludwig Bemelmans. The collection of essays, accompanied by the author's illustrations and interspersed with menus acquired throughout the world, carries us behind the scenes at some of the world's finest restaurants, to the table with gourmets of all types, and into the gastronomic imagination of the author of the Madeline series. If you want to experience a distant era of luxury, elegance and overindulgence, from a perspective laced with delight and satire, you will be thoroughly delighted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Bemelmans' memoir-styled character profiles of old New York (and old Hollywood) of a bygone era. Of his short stories about life growing up in a hotel and colorful caricature profiles of all the eccentric characters; La Bonne Table is the best! But some of the stories are repeated (ie: stories in "When you Lunch with the Emperor" also appear here). He still narrates in the same eloquent manner in the same way he writes his Madeline series for children. As a child, I enjoyed reading Madeline and this is definitely a more grown up treat which still has the narrative style of the Bemelmans whose writings I grew up with.
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Format: Paperback
This book is being reprinted by the publisher, so you may want to wait and buy it new instead of paying a lot for the previous printed edition.
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