Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster
Last Night at the Lobster
by Stewart O'Nan
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There comes a point early on in Stewart O’Nan’s novel The Good Wife (2004) when you realize, with dismal certainty, that you aren’t reading the story of a young pregnant woman whose husband is serving twenty-five years to life in prison for a murder he may or may not have committed, but rather, the bloodless story of a woman who waits for her husband for twenty-eight years. It is a novel about marking time, about making ends meet, about a disappointing motherhood, and about a long, unrewarding marriage. An old-school formalist, O’Nan ensures that we really suffer the passage of time alongside the heroine. It’s depressing, but surprisingly compelling.
Last Night at the Lobster is also about a countdown—not decades, but a single afternoon and snowy night, December 20, the last for a Red Lobster in New Britain,
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