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Last Night at the Lobster Paperback – October 28, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
O'Nan's descriptions are wonderfully adept; his characters warted humanity; his dialogues astutely sharp and witty. The man has captured life in the service industry and gives all his readers a taste. If you worked in any of these capacities yourselves you will find your pride and your grievances deliciously dished up. Hungry for every word, the reader will gobble down all the friction, the pain, the laughter and the circumstances, and like, Manny, wish it would never have to end.
Treat yourself to this banquet of a book. You will not go away wanting.
What it is, is a case study in leadership in adversity: the owners ('corporate'!) (I wouldn't dare say anything bad about them, just on the off risk that someone there is actually literate!) have decided to close down the Red Lobster in New Britain, presumably the numbers were not good enough (though just as likely some schoolboy bean counter needed to prove his sharpness).
The manager, Manny, has to run it till closing time on the last day, in the middle of a blizzard, and with only 4 of the staff, in addition to Manny, being given a job elsewhere next week. So why should they bother to show up at all? Exactly Manny's problem. And once they have come, how to make them stay? And how to handle his failed love story with the waitress that he wanted to keep, but who doesn't want to be kept?
A brillant, lean and efficient short novel or long story taken out of the heart of work life. This is it, folks, that's the way life is run.
Even a thriller in a way, though we have to settle for petty theft and petty vandalism.
The man has been translated into German, and has had good reviews there, but since I don't like to read translations, I had to wait for an AF to tell me to read this. Thanks to her!
Manny DeLeon has a lot on his plate. His Red Lobster restaurant is closing, and its last day coincides with a snow storm; Christmas is not far away, and he still has to get a gift for his pregnant girlfriend; at the same time, he continues to agonize over his failed relationship with one of his female employees; and in the midst of it all, he has to wear his manager hat for the next 13 hours and deal with recalcitrant or missing workers as well as rude or uncooperative patrons. Welcome to the wonderful world of customer service! What will happen when the clock strikes eleven?
I picked up this volume after reading a newspaper interview with the author, and I am definitely glad I did. It's my first Stewart O'Nan book, so I cannot speak to the rest of his catalog. This one will stay with me for quite a while. I will be thinking about Manny and some of his staff members for some time to come. It wouldn't surprise me at all if restaurant franchises of all sizes make this book mandatory reading for managerial personnel. As noted by another reviewer, Manny is a flawed but conscientious supervisor. What he has to deal with is as close to real life as literature can get -- with some tragic moments and others that are laugh-out-loud insane. Oh, and I'd be happy to take those left-over biscuits off your hands, Manny! A slice of life worthy of wide readership.
O'Nan's "Last Night at the Lobster," leaves one feeling a bit stunned. The main character smokes dope and has a conscience. O'Nan shines a light on characters who are usually outside of history. I love this book. Something about the way O'Nan describes snow (here and in his other works) makes you hunch up your shoulders and shiver. It won't change your life; but it may give you a new understanding of the people who are serving up your fast food. Now you can feel better about leaving a slightly bigger tip at the diner. My only criticism of the book is that someone at Viking could have taken the time to photoshop the redeye from the author's photograph.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First by this author that I've read, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Somebody recommended it to point up the extreme style difference between this and the many books that are... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Ann M. Hargrove
Is this a joke? Stewart O'Nan, "Bard of the Working-Class?" Really? Rather, "Last Night at the Lobster" is a story of how the moneyed classes perceive the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kelly A. Ohler
A very enjoyable read about what happens in one night as people gather for the last time of working together.Published 2 months ago by Kimber Lee
I love this book and I am not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because it put flesh on everyday people like ourselves who give so much of ourselves merely to survive. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Karen C Fray
sad story of a cold corporation and results of their actions.Published 3 months ago by robert grimes
It wasn't until I finished Stewart O'Nan's LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER that it occurred to me that there are two kinds of "psychological novels": the long,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Allen Smalling
See this review and more at: http://idiosyncraticlibrary.com/
Spare and beautiful, Last Night at the Lobster is an unsentimental, yet moving look at one night in an... Read more
A brilliant depiction of place and character. It was very well written!Published 4 months ago by Joseph Cameron