Here’s a book I am very eager to read: Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan. It’s the story of the last night at a Connecticut Red Lobster restaurant that’s going to close the next day.
EW put it on its 10 Best for 2007:
Another generous novel about work, this one set during a blizzard at a languishing Red Lobster restaurant in New England on its final day of operation. For the very last time, Manny DeLeon, Stewart O’Nan’s grave hero, negotiates between his bickering waitstaff, tends to the Frialators, banters with a longtime customer, and pushes the tilapia. Without quite admitting it to himself, he is mourning the dissolution of this strange little community, however makeshift and dreary. And why shouldn’t he? O’Nan turns everyday loss into poetry.
Scott Writes blog said this about the book:
Sure, it sounds pretty simple, but there’s so much below the surface of that basic plot description. O’Nan has a knack for writing some of the most thoroughly enriching portraits of small-town life you’re likely to find on bookshelves these days. Behind the last-night-at-their-job proceedings, there’s a deeply felt nostalgia and remorse for what’s become a staple in these characters’ lives. O’Nan plays it perfectly.
And from The Washington Post:
Full of regret and gentle humor, Last Night at the Lobster serves up the kind of delicate sadness that too often gets ruined by the slimy superiority that masquerades as sympathy for working-class people. It wouldn’t take much longer to read this story than to polish off a large helping of hush puppies, but it’s a far more nutritious meal.
Must. Read. ASAP.