Hotel Bemelmans

Hotel Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans was the son of a Belgian painter, a German mother and raised in a part of Austria that is now Italy. So he started out pretty cosmopolitan - but not too rich. While he is best known for writing the Madeline children's books (Which you really have to read, at least the first), he had quite an interesting life. Hotel Bemelmans is a compilation of short auto-biographical writings. We learn about his life, his travel to America, and most of all, his work in the great Ritz Carlton hotel, which today is shadow of it's former glory. He writes with profound interest and we meet some fascinating characters. Best of all, he has a nice, subtle wit he injects every now and then, and it seems funny things just happened to him. Even better is the fact that many of his stories are accompanied by little sketches in the Madeline vein. It's a great read - I also recommend the second book, "When You Lunch With The Emporer" which is much in the same style, and is essentially a continuation of this first book.