Tuesday 4 November 2008

Book ~ "Last Night at the Lobster" (2007) Stewart O'Nan

From Amazon ~ Set on the last day of business of a Connecticut Red Lobster, this novel tells the story of Manny DeLeon, a conscientious, committed restaurant manager any national chain would want to keep. Instead, corporate has notified Manny that his (and Manny does think of the restaurant as his) location is not meeting expectations and will close December 20. On top of that, he'll be assigned to a nearby Olive Garden and downgraded to assistant manager. It's a loss he tries to rationalize much as he does the loss of Jacquie, a waitress and the former not-so-secret lover he suspects means more to him than his girlfriend Deena, who is pregnant with his child. On this last night, Manny is committed to a dream of perfection but no one and nothing seems to share his vision: a blizzard batters the area, customers are sparse, employees don't show up and Manny has a tough time finding a Christmas gift for Deena. Lunch gives way to dinner with hardly anyone stopping to eat but Manny refuses to close early or give up hope. Small but not slight, the novel is a concise poignant portrait of a man on the verge of losing himself.

I cared about Manny and was amazed at his professionalism right to the end.

I found that there were too many other characters, though, working at the restaurant and I couldn't really keep them straight ... until some started leaving and that's when I got to know who was left better.

It was interesting to see how a chain restaurant (Red Lobster) works as an employee.

I'd heard good things about this book and was on the hold list at the library for months. It was a good story but I'm not sure it warranted the wait.

It's a quick read and I'd recommend it.

1 comment:

OldLady Of The Hills said...

INDEED, INDEED! We have a NEW President Elect, BBARACK OBAMA, and I am thrilled and moved by this Historic Night!