Stewart O’Nan: Pittsburgh’s Novelist of the Everyday

Belt

From an interview in Belt Magazine:

When time enough has passed for critics to start assessing how the Great Recession played out in American literature, it’s likely they’ll take a close look at Stewart O’Nan’s recent novels, especially 2007’s Last Night at the Lobster and 2011’s Emily, Alone. That’s partly because, dispiritingly enough, the shelf of novels that address the lower rungs of the middle class is a small one. But even in a crowded field, O’Nan’s books would stand out. In Lobster, O’Nan delivers both a close study of Manny, the manager of a soon-to-close Connecticut Red Lobster franchise, and of the workers and patrons who share their lives inside it during one day, captive to a brutal snowstorm. It’s early, but the novella is one of the most potent and sharpest portraits of work in the new century—few books in any era have done such a fine job of exploring how corporations stoke our loyalty, and how easily they betray it.

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