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“Truly a great book
unique, invaluable and unapproachable as the gold standard of the genre
… Bemelmans got there first, more frequently, and better.
” —Anthony Bourdain Acerbic, colorful, and spirited stories from a bygone era: behind the scenes in a grand NY hotel, from the author of the Madeline books Picture David Sedaris writing Kitchen Confidential about the Ritz in New York in the 1920s, which had the style and charm of The Grand Budapest Hotel
In this charming and uproariously funny hotel memoir, Ludwig Bemelmans uncovers the fabulous world of the Hotel Splendide—the thinly disguised stand-in for the Ritz—a luxury New York hotel where he worked as a waiter in the 1920s. With equal parts affection and barbed wit, he uncovers the everyday chaos that reigns behind the smooth facades of the gilded dining room and banquet halls. In hilarious detail, Bemelmans sketches the hierarchy of hotel life and its strange and fascinating inhabitants: from the ruthlessly authoritarian maître d'hôtel Monsieur Victor to the kindly waiter Mespoulets to Frizl the homesick busboy. Illustrated with his own charming line drawings, Bemelmans' tales of a bygone era of extravagance are as charming as they are riotously entertaining. “[
Bemelmans] was the original bad boy of the NY hotel/restaurant subculture, a waiter, busboy, and restaurateur who “told all” in a series of funny and true (or very near true) autobiographical accounts of backstairs folly, excess, borderline criminality, and madness in the grande Hotel Splendide… If you like stories about old New York as I do, this classic will have you laughing out loud.” –Anthony Bourdain