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The Waiter

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  891 ratings  ·  191 reviews
In the tradition of modern classics The Dinner and A Gentleman in Moscow comes The Waiter, in which the finely tuned balance of a grand European restaurant (that has seen better days) is irrevocably upset by an unexpected guest.

In a centuries-old European restaurant called The Hills, a middle-aged waiter takes pride in the unchangeable aspects of his job: the well-worn uniform, the ragged but solclassics
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Gallery/Scout Press (first published 2017)
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Average rating 3.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  891 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The Hills Restaurant in Oslo,Norway dates back to the mid 1800's. Steeped in tradition, diners experience Old World ambiance despite the restaurant's run down condition. The staff of waiters, bar managers, maitre d's and in-house pianists follow the old Ben Franklin quote, "A place for everything, everything in its place". We spend time in this finely-tuned, well ordered eatery as seen through the eyes and actions of the waiter. The waiter feels "it's all about eating here, and I'm a facilitator ...more
Umut Reviews
Oct 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was just not for me. It was plotless and pointless. The first 10 0pages of the book was observations of a waiter about people I didn't know, and was not introduced by the author.
There's no character development or a clear plot, just ramblings of a waiter.

I skimmed through the last part and the closure is even not satisfactory. So, Was not a good experience.
Mellie Antoinette
“The atmosphere is a strange mix of
refreshing and unpleasant.”

I should probably start by saying this book
just wasn’t my thing. But it might be yours if you’re into ...
Agatha Christie
Babette’s Feast
Cozy Mysteries
Crusty Waiters
Universes in microcosm
People stuck in time

I received an #earc of this novel from #netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Iryna *Book and Sword*
1.5/5 stars (rounded down)

What the hell did I just read??

It is a shame when such a pretty cover hides such a useless book. My reaction when I was finished with the book? "What in the world did I just read??"

Like living in a snow globe, The Waiter is a captivating study in miniature. Everything is just so, and that’s exactly how the waiter needs it to be. One can understand why he becomes anxious when things begin to change. In fact, given the circumstances, anxiety just might be the most/>
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Literary fiction rated below 3.5 stars is totally my jam. The narrative voice, the minutiae of the waiter’s ceaseless daily routine, and his close observations of the regular diners and the interior details they let slip through cracks in their public personae, are all absorbing.

Some things I didn’t like: I agree with others that the first half works much better than the second half (the unraveling is a bit absurd). Also, huge eyeroll to the catalyst being the arrival of the Child Lady, a beaut
Donna Davis
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody.
Thanks go to Net Galley and Doubleday for the review copy. I am sorry to be so late here; the truth is that I kept setting it aside because I didn’t like it, and then returning to it, thinking that I was missing something. I’ve given up on finding the magic, though there are some nice moments here; I also have a strong hunch that there may be a cultural barrier in play. Those that spend time in Europe, possibly with some Scandinavian background, may enjoy this in a way that I didn’t.

The setting
Robin Bonne
Apr 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: general-fiction
No real plot. The author is trying his hand at “edgy misogyny.” Pretty cover art, though.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if it hadn’t been a book club selection, so thanks to Rosie for suggesting this.

A light and amusing tale narrated by a fussy waiter in an Oslo restaurant, I found this unexpectedly entertaining. His quirks and tradition-loving prejudices are on full view as he describes his very narrow little world (although sometimes I thought he did have a point as he railed against some disagreeable aspects of the modern world). The Hills restaurant is the h
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-denmark
I realize this book is translated from the Norwegian, and I need to take into account all the issues translations bring with them, but I probably need to preface this review with the disclaimer that this may be the least enjoyable book I’ve read this year (you’re off the hook Hubert Selby and Tevi Troy, but still looking at you Han Kang as the lifetime champion). “The Waiter” is verbose, navel gazing, pretentious, and utterly, utterly without a reason for its existence.
Ok, a bit harsh perhaps
Anna Baillie-Karas
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting book. Overall too digressive and didn’t get to the heart of the matter, so the story was unclear.

But the narrator, a highly-sensitive aesthete who seems to unravel, is well realised & some of the vignettes are truly comic - slices of restaurant life, acutely observed. The customers are pompous &/or hedonistic, but don’t change; there’s a mysterious woman who drinks a quadruple espresso (respect) & unsettles the waiter, but i wasn’t sure why.

A fun read but not wholly
Tonstant Weader
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Matias Falkbakken has written two other novels in addition to The Waiter but is the only one translated into English. I mention this because for a moment, I thought it must be the novel that inspired Pete Buttigieg to learn Norwegian so he could read an author’s other books. Then I recalled it was published late last year, so it came too late for that story. Nonetheless, it is a book that could inspire someone to learn Norwegian.

Very little happens in The Waiter. There is a restauran
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that was odd. It's very much not going to be for everyone and I'm not 100% sure it was for me, but I think I liked it.

It's the story of a waiter's disintegration when a new element—a carefree, enigmatic young woman—is introduced into his perfectly ordered world. The Waiter works at The Hills, an old white tablecloth restaurant that has become a bit shabby and ever more eccentric over time. He has his regulars, who are as predictable in what they choose to eat as they are in whe
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you!

I am not sure exactly how to rate this book. I notice that English language reviews are low; reviews in other languages are much higher. Translation issues? I don't think so. Cultural issues? Perhaps. This book is basically about a few ordinary days in the life of a waiter at an old, traditional European high class restaurant. Nothing much happens, orders are placed, food is served, wine is drunk. The waiter catches his hand in
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won an advanced copy of The Waiter in a Goodreads giveaway.

I was immediately intrigued by the waiter (narrator) in this novel. The story moves pretty quickly and although the action takes place in present day, I would find myself forgetting that since the setting in the restaurant is so 'old world'. You definitely get a sense of the waiter and his every day movements and patrons at the restaurant. I will say I kept waiting for a climactic moment that I felt never really happened, b
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, fiction
Actual rating: 2.50
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I felt like there was something I was missing -- it felt like reading the poem my last duchess, but minus the a-ha moment. So, points added for the intrigue, but subtracted for over subtlety. Otherwise well written, and poignant at parts, and most importantly, UNEXPECTED!
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: from-publisher
Matthias Faldbakken’s novel, The Waiter, drew me instantly with its comparison to Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow. Sadly, the former does not hold a candle to its supposed cousin.

One of the things I loved most about Towles’s Gentleman is that the novel offered readers a portrait of confinement amid luxury and a constantly shifting political and social landscape within the hotel over the course of several decades. Rather than offer readers just one major character to latch onto, t
Siri Solheim-Kristiansen
We follow a waiter at a high-end restaurant in Oslo for a few days, and we see the world through his eyes and thoughts. We meet the guests and the colleagues, and I find it interesting to see how my impression of the various characters, including the main one, changes as more information is given - or as days go by. And day by day, the routines change due to new guests, their impulses, and the creation of new relations within the restaurant. It's "chaos" for the staff.

I enjoyed the book. It's e
Gabby Grant
Oct 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was one of the most dull, uninteresting books I’ve ever read. I bought it for two reasons: I liked the cover, and it made reference to A Gentleman in Moscow on the inside flap. I figured “Hey, it references my favorite book! Maybe it’s just as good?” and Lord, was I let down.
I understand that it was translated into English, but there was still soooo so so much wrong with it.

There was no plot, the main character was highly unlikable, and, again, THERE WAS NO PLOT. I didn’t know what I was
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
When it comes to Matias Faldbakken's The Waiter, I feel as though a lot was lost in translation for me, personally. I really wanted to love this, but something fell short. The premise is simple but could be compelling; set entirely in a long-standing European restaurant with a history all of it's own I was mostly drawn in by the narrator, an aging waiter who is very set in his ways and neurotic in his own way. When just taken for the value of his running commentary, I wasn't entirely disappointe ...more
Tess Liebregts
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
What started out wonderfully, ended in skimming through pages looking for something interesting.

I understand that this is a common opinion, but I also felt that the first part of the book was better than the last. The beginning got me really interested in the surroundings and the characters. The main character suffered from high sensitivity and it was interesting to read from his perspective, because it was a real chance to look into an unknown mind for me. His observations and feeli
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I won this book in one of the GoodReads contests. Not the kind of book I usually read. The book is well made and the font size and type are easy to read. The book is not really my type but is well written. Didn’t really can for the ending.
2.5 I checked this out because of the comparison to the dinner and gentleman in Moscow, two loved books, one for shock value, the other for love of language, this was not in either realm, thus a huge disappointment... for stand alone with zero hype, just middle of the road for me...
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I found 'The Waiter' to be intriguing. This book was a Goodreads Giveaway that I had won. This is the English translation of a Norwegian novel. 'Like living in a snow globe, The Waiter is a captivating study in miniature. Everything is just so, and that’s exactly how the waiter needs it to be. One can understand why he becomes anxious when things begin to change. In fact, given the circumstances, anxiety just might be the most sensible response...'
The writing style is quite reserved, which is f
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Underwhelming. I'm not sure what I thought this would be, but it was not. Quizzical enough for you? Similiar to my thoughts on this quick read
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A strange vignetted story, that left me very unsettled. The narrator is not all there and he feels like the sort of person who will become a serial killer.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't know what I am missing here, but while a wonderfully descriptive seemingly has no point. It is as though Seinfeld was made into a book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marcy Butler
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was happy to get an advance copy of this, as the premise was strangely simple but had the potential to be a quiet intimate read. It was beautifully translated - I say this not because I have experience with translation but because I never paused and re-read something because the sentence didn't flow right or seemed uniquely simple.

I've been thinking about why I didn't like the book more and I think it's because there was a lack of connection with the principal character. I just didn't like hi
The waiter is a hidebound traditionalist working at one of Oslo's foremost dining establishment, The Hills. He exists to serve, but also has high expectations of his guests and his colleagues in terms of their conduct within The Hills' hallowed environs.

At the outset, the waiter is a man in command of his surroundings, albeit under pressure. His equilibrium begins to be disturbed when a beautiful ingenue his thinks of as Child Lady arrives and starts breaching protocols, such as show
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Matias Faldbakken (born 1973 in Hobro, Denmark) is a Norwegian artist and writer. Faldbakken studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Bergen and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. He is the son of the author Knut Faldbakken and brother of film director Stefan Faldbakken. [wikipedia]

His first three books were published under the pseudonym Abo Rasul.
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