Synopses & Reviews
Its Super Bowl Sunday at the Almost Home Bar and Grill with the hometown Broncos playing for their second championship in a row, and the already busy night is about to get busier. When the bartender walks off, she leaves the remaining staff to the chaos of the nightand with the real question. Not why did she leave but why do they stay? After closing time and on a school night, Colleens 14-year-old daughter is no stranger to the Almost Home. Shell do almost anything to leave, to move her life forward or somehow return to earlier, better times, anywhere but here. But it doesnt matter; there seems to be no way out.
For one night, we follow all of them as they make their cash, close up, and then linger into the after hours, as they always do, their lives colliding, past and present, in the dark back corner at table 14drinking, talking, and, now, in the wake of Marnas absence, facing questions: Where did she go? Will she return? Why do we stay? How dangerous is restaurant love?
Smart, provocative, and flawlessly on target, Tara Yellens revealing debut offers keen insights on a group of people left to put the pieces of their own lives back together in the wake of a friends disappearance. After Hours at the Almost Home will put you in an altered stateits got kick and goes down like a shot. But its effects might be far more lasting.
"Yellen's first novel is a valiant attempt to capture, in plainly realistic prose, the complex inner workings of a generic American bar over the course of a single evening. Having moved five times for six different jobs, JJ once again finds herself in a new gig as a waitress at the Almost Home bar in Denver. Her first night happens to be Super Bowl Sunday, with the hometown Denver Broncos playing. While trying to learn the ropes (and messing up plenty of orders), JJ also has to master the bar's web of employee relationships: Colleen, the widow of a bar regular, has nowhere to leave her 14-year-old daughter, Lily, who often ends up at the bar with her; Denny is dealing with a breakup and the possibility of another relationship with Lena, also a waitress at the Almost Home; Keith awaits the end of the night, when he plans to run away with the bartender, Marna. The other cast of bar regulars wait out the game crowd and stay long into the night, engaged in a plot as intricate as a Greek tragedy. The result is a novel that feels like a one-act play, stuffed with subtexts and begging for actors to bring the sometimes stale dynamics to life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
the employees at the Almost Home could break your heart all lost and found at the same time
a snapshot of a novel, lovingly contained between the neon sign and the back door. Contents under pressure.”Los Angeles Times
In the film Waking Life, Louis Mackey poses this conundrum: "Which is the most universal human characteristic: fear or laziness?" The answer is both, and in this, her debut novel, Tara Yellen shows us how easilyand inevitablywe get stuck in our ruts.”Paste
"How's the read? From all reports, mighty fine. Rocky critic Verna Noel Jones has selected the story of the intersecting lives at the Almost Home as one of her favorite debut novels of 2008. And independent book retailers have chosen it as a Book Sense pick for May. Which I guess makes Yellen something of a hometown hero."Rocky Mountain News
Edgier than Cheers, as bawdy as Boccaccio's Decameron and as witty as Muriel Sparks' The Girls of Slender Means.” John Casey
Each character, in some way, is looking for escape some literally want to get out of Denver, while others are running from ghosts in their pasts. The very name of the bar suggests the ambivalent nature of place in this story. Yellens characters are real and likeable, and she is apt at constructing their complicated relationships. The dialogue is spot on, from bitter off-handed comments from the sharp-tongued Lena to Colleens drug-addled conversations with her deceased husband
an honest, unaffected story with details and dialogue that ring true on every page. Im looking forward to reading Yellens future work.”EnfuseMagazine.com
"A writer with a rich vein of talent, and the will to use it. We will all be reading her books over the next decade."Richard Bausch
The book asks the question, How dangerous is restaurant love?” And, in general, it opens the kitchen door and reveals the lives of those who cook and serve. Yellen writes from experience; she really has waited tables. Now, can we get fries with that?”Kansas City Star
Tara Yellen writes with extraordinary warmth and compassion, and with sly humor and flawless perceptiveness.”Chris Tilghman
"Tara Yellens novel includes plenty of male characters, but it strikes me as a book about women: how they cope...and how making a living is all too often interchangeable with making a life."Ann Beattie
Restaurant workers at a neighborhood bar and grill on the busiest night of the year continue to mix it up long after hours and well beyond what's good for them, risking hearts and hopes--and the life of a tender young girl.