Consider Last Night at the Lobster

A Novel Cover
How exactly Stewart O’Nan magnetizes, I couldn’t tell you, but if I said I didn’t enjoy Last Night at the Lobster I’d be a liar. Perhaps it is the eerie familiarity of the chain retail landscape; let’s face it, we’ve all been there, we’ve sensed the chill of those cloned retail locations that have colonized the American landscape. A winter storm on the last night of a Red Lobster restaurant provides literal frigidness but also exposes buried heat as the protagonist Manny, the restaurant manager, struggles against the elements, mutinous employees, and the absurdities of business to make the Red Lobster’s last day perfect in every way (their numbers had been up the last quarter, but headquarters had decided to shut them down anyway). The plot and prose are well-tensioned and, in his examination of the mundane, O’Nan’s lens casts revelation on a tired world, which sounds corny, but somehow it doesn’t come off that way. It’s short. It’s sweet. It even got the thumbs-up from our Literary Programs Manager -Ed Scripsi
Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If you enjoyed this book, pick up a copy of O’Nan’s The Good Wife. His writing style is just a breath of fresh air.

    Last Night at the Lobster was indeed a fantastic read~sucking me in from the first sentence down to the last word! And I’m not ashamed to admit that there were tears in my eyes after I closed the book and just let it all sink in. It’s only too bad that the book doesn’t come with a basket of fresh, hot Cheddar Bay Biscuits…

  2. Biscuits sound great on a day like today. I’ll definitely make “The Good Wife” my next O’Nan. Thanks! We don’t have it in the collection yet, but let the record show we DO have “The Names of the Dead” & “A World Away”.

  3. I just finished reading this and I loved it. It was so spare and so real. I am recommending it to lots of friends.

  4. Speaking of O’Nan, I just saw “Snow Angels”, based on the O’Nan novel. It was great. I laughed. I cried. Well, mostly I just cried, and even when I laughed, I was actually crying, but it really was very good.

  5. Speaking of uncontrollable weeping… I was up until the wee hours of the morning, with my fingers glued to the pages of “A Prayer for the Dying”. My eyes are still red, and I think I only had two hours of sleep…but it was so worth it! I personally think it’s the best book I’ve ever read, and that hurts to say, because I’ve been a long-time fan of “Time Traveler’s Wife” …

    Between Lobster, Good Wife and Prayer…I’m pretty much an O’Nan geek now. (sigh)


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