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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Waitress Was New

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The Waitress Was New Cover

ISBN13: 9780977857692
ISBN10: 0977857697
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"A tiny fragment of life, simply told and yet touching in the extreme."-French Book News

Pierre, a lifelong Parisian waiter, watches people come and go, sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesn't look outside too much; he prefers to let the world come to him. When the cafe goes under, Pierre finds himself at a loss. As we follow his stream of thought over three days, Pierre's humanity and profound solitude are revealed.

Dominique Fabreis the author of six novels. He won the Marcel Pagnol Prize for Fantmesin 2001. The Waitress was Newis his first book to appear in English.

Jordan Stumpis a noted translator of modern French novelists, including Marie Redonnet and ric Chevillard.

Review:

"For his U.S. debut, Fabre offers a poignantly funny, slender slice of a French waiter's life. Pierre, 56 and divorced, has worked at the suburban Parisian cafe Le Cercle for so long that he's become a fixture. He's a good listener, too, particularly to the boss's wife, heartbroken over her husband's seeming affair with the young head waitress, Sabrina. As a long shift unrolls, the boss and Sabrina are absent from the busy cafe, leaving Senegalese cook Amde fuming and Pierre and the title's fill-in waitress scrambling. The next day brings big changes, and loyal, orderly Pierre must suddenly measure out his mortality by the pay stubs he has hoarded over his working life. In Fabre's patient, deliberative layering, the details of Pierre's quotidian life assume an affecting solidity and significance. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A veteran waiter is set adrift when his café closes its doors.

Synopsis:

A veteran waiter is set adrift when his café closes its doors.

Synopsis:

Pierre is a veteran bartender in a café in the outskirts of Paris. He observes his customers as they come and go - the young man who drinks beer as he reads Primo Levi, the fellow who from time to time strips down and plunges into the nearby Seine, the few regulars who eat and drink there on credit - sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesnt look outside more than necessary; he prefers to let the world come to him. Soon, however, the café must close its doors, and Pierre finds himself at a loss. As we follow his stream of thoughts over three days, Pierres humanity and profound solitude both emerge. The Waitress Was New is a moving portrait of human anguish and weakness, of understated nobility and strength. Lire est un plaisir describes Dominique Fabre as a "magician of the everyday."

About the Author

Dominique Fabre is the author of 6 novels. He won the Marcel Pagnol Prize for "Fantmes" in 2001. "The Waitress was New" is his first book to appear in English.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

reader richard, November 29, 2010 (view all comments by reader richard)
The Book Report: Over the course of three days, fifty-six-year-old barman Pierre's life at Le Cercle cafe goes from six-year-long trudge towards retirement to unemployment as his creep of a midlife-crisis-ridden boss apparently abandons wife and business for the arms of a younger woman. Said wife even sends Pierre looking for her husband in all the usual suspects' haunts. Pierre, faithful to his own code of honor, does his best to make the situation work by hunting boss-man down, but comes up empty and reports failure; this is followed by the boss-lady's decision to close the cafe. Temporarily, she says, while she finds her husband and sorts things out.

Pierre, lacking other commitments and entanglements in his life, watches over the bar, lets the food and liquor delivery people in, wipes his spotless bar down, and watches his regulars drink and eat at La Rotonde, the competing bar across the square. At the end of a week of this useless work, plus the more useful work of getting his pension paperwork in order (four and a half years to go until the full ride is achieved), Pierre gets the call: The boss and wife are in Saint-Malo, starting afresh, and they've agreed to sell Le Cercle to someone else. The staff will be paid to the end of the month, and goodbye.

So what does Pierre do? He opens up. He serves the regulars, the staff, all comers, on the house. Why not? He's been screwed out of a safe and secure position, one he does well, and so why not do it one last time? Then he goes home. And because he can't think of anything else to do, he goes to bed. Fin.

My Review: How wonderful to read a book like this, short and to the point, one that allows me the reader to discover what kind of person the narrator/PoV character is without being spoon-fed opinions by a mistrustful author.

How interesting to be a fly on the wall behind the bar looking on as a business, a thriving one, loses its anchor and spins out of control. How pleasurable to see that not all the occupants of this anchorless business flee like rats from a sinking ship; the staunchness of the narrator is made up from equal parts honor and lack of imagination, which he sort of vaguely realizes.

And how very ordinary a man he is: Old enough to have weathered midlife, too young to view retirement with equanimity, still alive enough to notice the lack of a love in his life, and yet not vital enough to break the deadhanded grip of his difficult past (adopted at ten by the woman he still thinks of as his mother, dead these 12 years) and participate fully in the emotional life of the world. In short, there are millions of him walking around, a part of one small segment of the world yet apart from all the main channels of life.

The new waitress of the title replaced the waitress that the boss was having an affair with for two and more years. She started on Monday, and by Wednesday the cafe had closed. She lived in the farthest reaches of Paris, traveled over an hour to get to the job, and she was already tired of the job. Pierre reports these facts, he comments on them only in the briefest passages, but the reader feels, thanks to deft authorial choices made by the translator, the whole history of Pierre's life in the short transit of the new girl: He's always in transit, is Pierre, always looking at the ground he's standing on, waiting for it to root him, when he can't imagine how he should send down his own roots.

What a joy it was to read this book. Please, do the same for yourself, and revel in the short moment of being treated to a close look at someone more like you than is probably comfortable to view, and at the same time as the adult you certainly are at this point in your reading life.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780977857692
Author:
Fabre, Dominique
Publisher:
Archipelago Books
Translator:
Stump, Jordan
Author:
Stump, Jordan
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
France
Subject:
Paris
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20080131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
117
Dimensions:
6.5 x 5.6 x 0.4 in 4.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Waitress Was New Used Trade Paper
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$7.50 In Stock
Product details 117 pages Archipelago Books - English 9780977857692 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "For his U.S. debut, Fabre offers a poignantly funny, slender slice of a French waiter's life. Pierre, 56 and divorced, has worked at the suburban Parisian cafe Le Cercle for so long that he's become a fixture. He's a good listener, too, particularly to the boss's wife, heartbroken over her husband's seeming affair with the young head waitress, Sabrina. As a long shift unrolls, the boss and Sabrina are absent from the busy cafe, leaving Senegalese cook Amde fuming and Pierre and the title's fill-in waitress scrambling. The next day brings big changes, and loyal, orderly Pierre must suddenly measure out his mortality by the pay stubs he has hoarded over his working life. In Fabre's patient, deliberative layering, the details of Pierre's quotidian life assume an affecting solidity and significance. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
A veteran waiter is set adrift when his café closes its doors.
"Synopsis" by ,
A veteran waiter is set adrift when his café closes its doors.
"Synopsis" by , Pierre is a veteran bartender in a café in the outskirts of Paris. He observes his customers as they come and go - the young man who drinks beer as he reads Primo Levi, the fellow who from time to time strips down and plunges into the nearby Seine, the few regulars who eat and drink there on credit - sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesnt look outside more than necessary; he prefers to let the world come to him. Soon, however, the café must close its doors, and Pierre finds himself at a loss. As we follow his stream of thoughts over three days, Pierres humanity and profound solitude both emerge. The Waitress Was New is a moving portrait of human anguish and weakness, of understated nobility and strength. Lire est un plaisir describes Dominique Fabre as a "magician of the everyday."
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