Kasa Cotugno's Reviews > Last Night at the Lobster

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
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's review
Jun 15, 09

Read in November, 2007

Once again, Stewart O'Nan proves that his eyes, ears and heart are always open. This deceptively slender volume holds more integrity than books 5 times its size. This story of a man who continues to maintain an honorable sense of correctness for his own innate decency, despite the understandable sense of "short termer's malaise," can't help but increase a reader's appreciation of what it takes to operate a familiar restaurant, especially if the reader's never had the opportunity to work in one. I know that I will never regard the person (usually wearing a tie) who is quietly watching all that goes on in my local restaurant, quite the same ever again.

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message 1: by mark (new)

mark I always enjoy the commentary from Ms. Cotugno, my first Lady of Literature, who never appears on our doorstep without a package of erudition, eloquence and reliable common sense.

I wish I could say the same for myself. My flaw is a strange monomania: an inability to not instantly detect and block out everything else but the one absurdity in the sublime, as does the alchemist the blemish on his wife's immortally Hellenic cheek, in Hawthorne's "The Birthmark."

Forgive me if this is already public knowledge, but isn't Mr. O'Nan's surname itself a fiction, a so-called joke name, such as Seymour Butts or Michael Hunt? It must have emerged from his mind's crucible, for who would go through life with a moniker the cognate of which is the son of Judah (Genesis 38:9)? If such is not the case, then certainly the "recurring truth of O'Nan's fictional universe... that horrible things happen to people, often without warning or reason,"* has befallen this poor chap, who has his own birthmark to bear.

*Stewart O'nan Biography

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