Yes, Anthony Bourdain did eventually read No Reservations, Narnia
July 26, 2018 8:29 PM   Subscribe

This is the story of how a most unusual piece of fanfiction was reviewed in The New Yorker by Anthony Bourdain.

Some years ago, as part of the annual Yuletide fanfiction challenge/gift exchange, a writer with the pseudonym Edonohana posted a short story. Because it was Yuletide, which is about small fandoms, and because "small fandoms" can include just about anything (past Yuletide fandoms include anthropomorphic geography, long-dead political figures, board games, and more standard fare like beloved childhood comics), the recipient of the story in question requested Real Person Fic (RPF) involving Anthony Bourdain.

So Edonohana posted what was to be the breakout story of Yuletide 2010: No Reservations, Narnia: a story in which Anthony Bourdain goes to Narnia and has three meals. It's a marvelous story, rich with detail and creativity, and stunning in its evocation of Bourdain's voice. It's the type of story that people point to when they try to defend the very concept of fanfiction as its own literary form.

Most people would have expected that over the ensuing years, Bourdain would have been forwarded the link to the story (the way someone sent the "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" gang the link to Wait Wait Don't Eat Me). But apparently nobody ever sent it to him.

Until this year, not long before he died, when food writer Helen Rosner of the New Yorker sent it to Bourdain, and interviewed Edonohana herself about the story. Edonohana herself on the story, and Bourdain, and food.

Previously.
posted by suelac (18 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have also said "I am flattered and disturbed. I think I need a drink." Although not because of fan fiction.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I've never read Bourdain, so I missed anything on that side, but as a longtime C.S. Lewis fan, Edonohana's piece is awesome. Judging from the very loving descriptions of meals in the Narnia books, I think Lewis would have liked it too.

The best part of the story, if not the best meal, is the Marsh-Wiggles.
posted by zompist at 9:31 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Oh, I’m so glad to know he read it. It’s one of my favorite pieces of fanfic. This one is still so sore for me, and I wish he knew how loved he was, and how much he meant to so many people. I don’t know why his suicide is the one that gets me, this year, but it is.
posted by dogheart at 9:38 PM on July 26 [14 favorites]


I'm not a Narnia fan but I AM a Bourdain fan. This was just fabulous and clever and funny and sardonic and makes me miss him so much.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:02 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I have been binge reading Bourdain the last two weeks. I had to wait at least a month since the untimely demise of our prophet St. Anthony (Praise Be Upon His Name) to expose myself to his amazing writing and I may never be able to watch one of his shows again.

I was also a wise ass kid, the child of conservative Catholics so C.S. Lewis is as close as I got to any good YA fiction.

This was seriously well done, and I tried to be skeptical. I am pleased that Tony (PBOHN) got to read and appreciate it.

And for all you people like me that were only familiar with his TV shows when his death ruined your lives 2 months ago, do yourselves a favor and start reading his books. They’re the same as his TV shows, but only more so.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:07 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I miss Bourdain. :( My mom and I have been watching through at least two or three episodes of Parts Unknown and No Reservations a night, for the past two weeks, and it's been both a marvelous and a privately grieving experience, but I also get to introduce my mom to Bourdain, who she has heard of but never watched, which is a total win. We both love his sense of humor and his candid realness, his respect and understanding, and his obsession with noodles.

His reply is really, really perfect.
posted by yueliang at 3:32 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I'd never read "No Reservations: Narnia". If this is what fanfic is, I've been missing out. Thank you for sharing it.

Reading it, I felt encouraged that the Internet was still a place where wildly talented outsiders could share their writing and reach an audience beyond a limited group of "friends" or "followers". Then I reread the post and realized it was from 2010.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:40 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


But how did he like the Turkish Delight?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 7:12 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


Oh, this delights me! I send that fanfic to so many people, fanfic readers and non-fanfic-readers alike, not even to show them that fanfic can be about many things and not just romance, but just because it's really, really good. I never actually made the connection between edonohana and rachelmanija but it totally makes sense.
posted by capricorn at 7:25 AM on July 27


Until reading this story (for the first time, today) and reading Bourdain's response to it, I hadn't actually wept at the news of his death. Weeping now.

The story is really fucking good.
posted by duffell at 7:48 AM on July 27


But how did he like the Turkish Delight?

That's my one gripe about the story. I was waiting for the Turkish Delight. I expected he'd say it tasted like perfume.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:18 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I never actually made the connection between edonohana and rachelmanija but it totally makes sense.

I wouldn't ordinarily post anything that outs someone's fic pseud, but Rachel made it explicit in the post and was willing to let Rosner state it in the New Yorker, so it seemed to be ok in this instance.

Rachel is super-talented and funny, and I highly recommend reading her fiction (she has a YA fantasy series co-written with Sherwood Smith, and a number of romance novels under other pseuds). And her memoir All the Fishes Come Home to Roost is moving and funny.
posted by suelac at 8:19 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


If this is what fanfic is, I've been missing out.

You've been missing out.

I can't get into a longer and more accurate response without derailing, but drop me a MeMail if you want more info.
posted by tzikeh at 8:51 AM on July 27 [11 favorites]


As a former bandom washout, finding out a famous person has been sent the fanfic about them is usually not a good thing. But this was a nice anecdote. I miss him too.
posted by koucha at 12:49 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Reading it, I felt encouraged that the Internet was still a place where wildly talented outsiders could share their writing and reach an audience beyond a limited group of "friends" or "followers". Then I reread the post and realized it was from 2010.

The Yuletide exchange is an annual thing that will be happening again this year, so this definitely still happens, although this kind of publicity for it outside fandom circles is rare.
posted by therewithal at 1:16 PM on July 27


The Yuletide exchange is an annual thing that will be happening again this year, so this definitely still happens, although this kind of publicity for it outside fandom circles is rare.

Counter-argument: Peter Sagal & NPR tweeting about Wait Wait Don't Eat Me, Yuletide Challenge 2009.
posted by tzikeh at 10:30 PM on July 27


Yuletide exchange fic is my favourite, it explicitly prefers niche and unusual fandoms and there's always gems from it.

This one has been one of my favourites for years (the details are sublime), but my favourite Agatha Christie fic came from it also, I believe. This is what good fic is like, y'all really are missing out.
posted by pseudonymph at 12:54 AM on July 29


You've been missing out.

I can't get into a longer and more accurate response without derailing, but drop me a MeMail if you want more info.


Hey Tzikeh. Know what wouldn't be a derail? An FPP about fanfic with lots and lots of fabulous links. I'll just be over here refreshing the main page.
posted by bunderful at 11:44 AM on July 29 [6 favorites]


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