One might think that at the age of 87, after escaping the Holocaust, after seeing much of the world, after a wildly successful career as a chef, restaurateur and radio personality, Pierre Wolfe would have had enough.
And one would be wrong.
The urbane and outgoing Wolfe — a staple on Denver’s entertainment scene for decades, known to untold numbers of people as “Chef Pierre” — still had a book to finish.
The project was not an autobiography — a chronicle of Wolfe’s undeniably interesting life — but a novel.
It came out a few weeks ago, The Tall Fellows, a slender volume, published locally, with cover art depicting two young men — one attired in civilian clothing, the other in a uniform with a swastika armband — backed by a host of Nazi banners.
The two young men, the “tall fellows” of the title, are the best of friends, bound by long-established family ties, whose bonds are seriously challenged by the horrific advent and tragic course of the Third Reich.
The once unbreakable friendship between them indeed does eventually break, pitting them against one another as the world plunges into war.
It sounds like the proverbial sweeping saga of war, friendship and love — popular fiction, to be sure — but Wolfe coyly discloses that it’s not entirely fictional.
“A lot of it is not me, even though you might think so,” he said in a recent interview. “From reading the book you might get an idea where I come in and you might be right and you might be wrong.
“I’m not going to disclose what part is really me, but certainly you don’t write a book like this without something of yourself. I believe that most authors have something of themselves in their books.”