#9 – Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan

25 01 2008

Reading Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan took me a few hours on a dreary winter afternoon. Only 146 (small) pages, it is the story of the last night a franchise location of Red Lobster is open, told from the point of view of the general manager.
This was a fast, interesting read. Definitely not something I would purchase, but a good choice to pick up from your local library. I would rate it 6 out of 10 – lobster without the melted butter.
I wondered a lot about O’Nan when reading this story. What would drive him to have such interest in Red Lobster and Darden Restaurants that he would make it a driving force in his novel? Was he inspired by the live lobsters that peer at the customers who may consume them from their tank in the lobby? Did he previously work in the food service industry? At the back of the book he thanks his family and friends for putting up with a year of Red Lobster Talk. Did he pay Darden to use Red Lobster as the setting? If so, did Darden have to approve the book prior to printing? Although it is not unflattering to the seafood house, it does not leave one with the desire to run off to Red Lobster, (though I did suggest to my husband that we go to the Olive Garden – another Darden Restaurant – tonight).
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