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Last Night at the Lobster
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Last Night at the Lobster

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  7,668 Ratings  ·  1,523 Reviews

The Red Lobster perched in the far corner of a run-down New England mall hasn't been making its numbers and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift with a near-mutinous staff. All the while, he's wondering how to handle the waitress he's still in love with, what to do about his pregnant girlfriend, and where to

Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Viking Adult
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Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-2008
Absolutely pitch-perfect.

I don't know if everyone can appreciate exactly why this book is so perfect, but what O'Nan has done in capturing the mood of a crew of food service workers just as their workplace is about to shuts its doors forever is remarkable.

In any service environment, a peculiar culture builds up among the employees, but in food service that culture knits itself in a very specific way. It's all about the money: how the servers relate to the kitchen staff, bar staff, and managers
Glenn Sumi
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

Eating at the humble Red Lobster won’t be quite the same after reading this bittersweet ode to the service industry.

It’s a grey, snowy Saturday a week or so before Christmas, and the Red Lobster near a rundown New England mall is about to close down – for good. Sales just aren’t up to scratch, and all the staff has been let go, except for five, who are being offered jobs at an Olive Garden a few towns over.

In fact, today is the restaurant’s final day, and it’s up to hard-working manager Manny De
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this little jewel of a book. Stewart O’Nan manages to write a 160 page book about the employees at a Red Lobster during the span of their last working day and make it intriguing. I kept waiting for something…..anything to happen and yet when it didn’t, that was OK. Yep, he's that good.
Manny De Leon is spending a double shift working his last day as the manager of a Red Lobster. The bosses at the corporate headquarters have decided to close this older restaurant. Lacking the holiday spirit, the bosses picked December 20th as the last day of operation.

The book follows Manny, hour by hour, in the restaurant while a blizzard dumps snow on the parking lot outside. Some of his crew show up in spite of the weather because they have a sense of loyalty toward Manny. Manny is kind and
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reading this book I was reminded of Joe Queenan's Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon (1999), an unfunny book of tossed-off "humor" pieces about the irrevocable cheesiness of American culture. In an essay called "Slouching toward Red Lobster" (see what I mean by "unfunny"?), Queenan describes the chain as a place for people who think they're too good for Roy Roger's. That about sums up his point: I'm better than other people, and I get to write a book about it!

What I loved about LAST N
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Because I live in my own little world inside my head, complete with pugs dressed as butlers and rainbows made of Laffy Taffy, it was a long time before I became aware of Stewart O’Nan. Partially, I suppose, this is due to the fact that O’Nan’s books do not draw undue attention to themselves. He is not an elegant prose stylist; he does not construct elaborate plots that bend time and space and then loop back again; and he does not fetishize the typical professions found in most novels/television ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Last Night at the Lobster owes what little effectiveness it has more to its three conceits than to skill or insight. First, it's narrated in the present tense, for a sense of immediacy. Second, it's set entirely in environments (a chain restaurant and a shopping mall) that are comforting by design. Third, the story takes place during a snow storm, for a sense of surreality and semi-isolation. O'Nan does little else to generate the mood on which the novel depends; in particular he provides few of ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This little gem I read in one sitting on a blizzard January night near Chicago. It cannot be other than a 5 for the perfect voice of work life that O'Nan accomplished. An unknown author to me, this book was found sitting on the NEW shelf as I came in from -2 temperatures. I paused, just standing there, to warm up and let my returns unfreeze in their bag. Not to get books but to bring them back. But this single one sang out to me for some reason. I read no reviews, nor had seen any preview traile ...more
Karl Krekeler
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Karl by: NPR

Stewart O'Nan made the most mundane thing (a story about the last day at a Red Lobster) and made it into a beautiful, moving story. In just a short time (less than 150 pages), he painted characters that I hope I can meet again someday to see how their new lives work out.

This was an interesting project. He basically wrote a story backwards. This is a story about an ending, with the hope of a new beginning.

I learned about this book on NPR, and learned about Stewart O'Nan by reading Faithful, a
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Picked this one up for two reasons:

a.) the cover and size grabbed my attention
b.) it's set around the holidays and I needed a good Christmas book to read.

O'Nan is a really good writer, no doubt about it. He's got a good voice. He's very descriptive and does a great job of putting you in the setting.

This book, however, was greatly disappointing. It had been lauded by folks like the NPR critics, but I'm not sure why. Yes, he painted a stark and realistic portrait of what it's like to work in a res
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Stewart O'Nan is the author of eleven novels, including Snow Angels and A Prayer for the Dying, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction. His previous novel, Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the New York Public Library Books to Remember. Additionally, Granta named him one of the 20 Best Young Ameri ...more
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