Bamboo: Essays and Criticism

On the heels of Boyd's Costa (formerly Whitbread) Award winner, Restless, an erudite and entertaining collection of essays and opinions from one of our generation's most talented writers.
"Plant one bamboo shoot--cut bamboo for the rest of your life." William Boyd's prolific, fruitful career is a testament to this old Chinese saying. Boyd penned his first book review in 1978--the proverbial bamboo shoot--and we've been reaping the rewards ever since. Beginning with the Whitbread Award-winning A Good Man in Africa, William Boyd has written consistently artful, intelligent fiction and firmly established himself as an international man of letters. He has done nearly thirty years of research and writing for projects as diverse as a novel about an ecologist studying chimpanzees (Brazzaville Beach), an adapted screenplay about the emotional lives of soldiers (The Trench, which he also directed), and a fictional biography of an American painter (Nat Tate). All the while, Boyd has been accruing facts and wisdom--and publishing it in the form of articles, essays, and reviews.
Now available for the first time in the United States, Bamboo gathers together Boyd's writing on literature, art, the movie business, television, people he has met, places he has visited and autobiographical reflections on his African childhood, his years at boarding school, and the profession of novelist. From Pablo Picasso to the Cannes Film Festival, from Charles Dickens to Catherine Deneuve, from mini-cabs to Cecil Rhodes, this collection is a fascinating and surprisingly revealing companion to the work of one of Britain's leading novelists.

Reviews from

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By David (San Francisco, CA) · ★★★★☆ · March 20, 2008
Updated review - March 20th 2008

There were so many wonderful pieces in this collection that no review can do it justice. I will just mention three which gave particular pleasure:

1. His essay on the short story, in which he provides a useful taxonomy of the form: the event-plot story (everything b... ...more
By Issi (Ballater, V2, The United Kingdom) · August 06, 2011
Didn't actually realise when I bought the book on Amazon that it was a book of short stories and essays. However, I read most of them, and they were pretty good. Love the title and the Chinese proverb ... 'plant one bamboo shoot - cut bamboo for the rest of your life'. ...more
By Marie (The United Kingdom) · ★★★★★ · October 13, 2009
A great collection of articles, reviews and essays on an eclectic and diverse range of subjects. It's a big thick book too, so it will entertain for many hours, or is just as good when one selects one piece to read on its own. Splendid! ...more
By Denise (Glasgow, V2, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · October 12, 2009
What a gem! I can hardly settle to read any one thing in this box of delights as I've already spotted some other topic I just have to have a quick look at. What a grasshopper brain I have! ...more
By Peter · ★★★★★ · May 21, 2012
a compendium of genius................ ...more