J.I.'s Reviews > Last Night at the Lobster

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
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's review
May 05, 2011

bookshelves: read-2011
Read in April, 2011

This is a small novel. It takes place in a single area, over a single day, following the life of a single person. Manny is a manager of a Red Lobster that's closing that day and his life is unglamorous to say nothing. The book lingers on the details and they are fittingly inglorious. His job sucks. He has a pregnant girlfriend that he doesn't like and an exgirlfriend that doesn't want him in a sweet and condescending kind of a way. What is amazing is that O'Nan makes this boring life almost noble. He is stuck in a deadend job and yet there is something beautiful in his love of doing good work, though he reaps no reward, and plenty of abuse. It is painted in prose that gives a sense of honor to the job that isn't the painful praise of the working class that one might expect, but rather the weak acknowledgement that these kinds of people are good people, despite it all.
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