Randall Yelverton's Reviews > Last Night at the Lobster

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
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Feb 28, 2009

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Read in February, 2009

So much to admire in this book, but not really enjoyable. O'Nan nails the rhythms and speech of restaurant staff. The Lobster of the book is very real and its staff wholly believable. And yet, the book is a bit of a slog. Maybe if O'Nan had stripped out the run of the mill love affair and focused merely on the work details the book would have been more compelling. The love story is weak as compared to the drama of seating, serving, and satisfying customers which can provide fascinating, anxious drama.

Also, having served in some form of customer service for most of life, including a short stint at a Ruby Tuesday and now serving as a manager of a library, reading about Manny's managerial concerns gave me some anxiety. Service is its own unique drama as you try to serve each customer well but swiftly all while wearing a smile. It can be exhilarating/exhausting and the camaraderie or resentment you develop with those also in the trenches can be, in the moment, very strong. O'Nan gets this and portrays it well. And Ty, the head cook, was dead-on. Loved the Lobster but 86 the romance.
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02/21 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Randy,
Thank you for the thoughtful review. This was not a book with which I was familiar, but now I don't have to read it. You gave enough information and detail to allow an informed decision. Perfect!

Randall Yelverton Thanks, Michael. I'm trying to compose reviews frequently and polish up my writing in order to hopefully get some freelance work somewhere down the line.

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