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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Second Half/ Whole Novel

Please use this thread to discuss the whole novel. What were the surprises for you? What were your expectations, and did novel end as you thought it would?
 
 
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LucyintheOC
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Registered: ‎03-05-2008
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

No, there weren't any surprises for me and, yes, it ended as I expected it probably would--and that's ok because that's life, and that's O'Nan's gift to his readers. That's who he is as a writer. He presents "real life" on paper, captures moments in time and shows them for what they are through his writing style and understanding of what real life is. Look at his author's phtograph in the book. He looks like a real, regular guy who happens to have a gift. Compare his photo to photos of other authors--glamor shots. His book is like his picture; his writing is like his picture. He tells us stories, and in these stories things about ourselves that are everyman/everywoman in their essence. When I read the storyline, I couldn't wait to get the book. I'm glad to have "met" this author and I've checked out his other titles. I'm looking foward to making time to read some of his other books. With Lobster, I felt I got what I expected, which--while finding surprises in a book can be exciting and stimulating--isn't such a bad thing.
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malinpgh
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Registered: ‎03-03-2008
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

About the "surprise" issue - I'm a "consumer" of writing and not a "writer" myself at all - but I think it must be harder to write well when there _are_ no surprises or rescues in play because you have to concentrate on the character. A tricky plot does some of the work for the writer and I really admire those writers who are careful and deliberate with the language, either in the terse word-smithing that O'Nan does, or the expansive (and maybe a bit show-off-y) style of more florid writers.

I felt somewhat hopeful that things would work out better for everyone than they did - but the tale would have somehow been less authentic if that had been the case.
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LucyintheOC
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

malinpgh, I agree.
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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel



malinpgh wrote:
About the "surprise" issue - I'm a "consumer" of writing and not a "writer" myself at all - but I think it must be harder to write well when there _are_ no surprises or rescues in play because you have to concentrate on the character. A tricky plot does some of the work for the writer and I really admire those writers who are careful and deliberate with the language, either in the terse word-smithing that O'Nan does, or the expansive (and maybe a bit show-off-y) style of more florid writers.

I felt somewhat hopeful that things would work out better for everyone than they did - but the tale would have somehow been less authentic if that had been the case.


Yes, there is a a kind of concentration on character and detail that makes the revelation of the people and setting feel like holding a yoga pose! Something about the intensity of it can gather more momentum than a great turn of events. Interesting observation.
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Librarian
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

I think part of the attraction of this book is that the author takes a theme which can be very life-changing or worrisome or exciting to various people------the final closing of the place of employment that you have known for so long------and juxtaposes that dramatic theme with the ordinary minutiae that still have to happen to get through the day and night. I think it creates an almost surreal effect.
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Jessica
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Registered: ‎09-24-2006
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

Hi Librarian,
 
"Surreal" is a good word for the mood of this book. In many ways, it's very quiet -- the snowfall, the opening / closing of the Red Lobster. Even when the dining room is bustling, there's a dream-like, disconnection between the employees and their work.
 
Haven't we all experienced this? It's a unique feeling, being on the cusp of change, not rooted in one reality or another. For example -- the last day of school, the night before your wedding, waiting to go into labor with your first child ... it's thrilling, but also somber.
 
Anyone else have more examples?
 

 

Librarian wrote:
I think part of the attraction of this book is that the author takes a theme which can be very life-changing or worrisome or exciting to various people------the final closing of the place of employment that you have known for so long------and juxtaposes that dramatic theme with the ordinary minutiae that still have to happen to get through the day and night. I think it creates an almost surreal effect.
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dghobbs
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel



Librarian wrote:
I think part of the attraction of this book is that the author takes a theme which can be very life-changing or worrisome or exciting to various people------the final closing of the place of employment that you have known for so long------and juxtaposes that dramatic theme with the ordinary minutiae that still have to happen to get through the day and night. I think it creates an almost surreal effect.
Librarian





I agree, the attraction of this Wonderful novel is that justaposition of the not so ordinary work day (the snow storm)with the extraordinary point of it being the last day of the restaurant. doug
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lovetoread
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Re: Second Half/ Whole Novel

When I first heard about this book, I thought the subject was rather dull....after all, what could be so interesting about a night at the Red Lobster?  But, once I started it, I couldn't put it down...in simple, yet eloquent, language, the author paints a vivid tale of the life, hopes, and dreams of the characters.  
 
Manny's relentless hope and spirit are what made the book special for me....the American dream, right there in your local Red Lobster?  Stewart O'Nan shows us that anything is possible, you just have to work a little harder than everyone else. 
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