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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Waitress was New

Dominique Fabre

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To purchase The Waitress was New

Title: The Waitress was New
Author: Dominique Fabre
Genre: Novel
Written: 2005 (Eng. 2008)
Length: 117 pages
Original in: French
Availability: The Waitress was New - US
The Waitress was New - UK
The Waitress was New - Canada
La serveuse était nouvelle - Canada
La serveuse était nouvelle - France
  • French title: La serveuse était nouvelle
  • Translated by Jordan Stump

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Our Assessment:

B+ : slight but appealing

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Lire . 11/2007 Fabrice Gaignault
The LA Times . 24/2/2008 David L. Ulin
Le Monde . 11/11/2005 Christine Rousseau
The Village Voice . 26/2/2008 Alexis Soloski

  From the Reviews:
  • "Dominique Fabre excelle dans les pointes sèches de personnages pour lesquels il éprouve une réelle empathie. C'est un Modiano de la petite ceinture, dont le style passé au tamis force l'admiration." - Fabrice Gaignault, Lire

  • "Vivid, haunting, deeply moving, this is fiction that has much to tell us about the profundity of daily life." - David L. Ulin, The Los Angeles Times

  • "Alas, the book's plot deprives Pierre of his job and leaves him alone and adrift with his discursive thoughts. At 117 pages, it's the slimmest of the three novels, and easily the slightest, a scant portrait of a man bereft of self-awareness." - Alexis Soloski, The Village Voice

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Waitress was New is narrated by Pierre, a fifty-six-year old barman at a French café, Le Cercle. He has his role and his routine, but over the course of this short novella he keeps getting pushed out of these. It begins with the new waitress, standing in for the regular waitress, Sabrina, who is out sick. That only makes for a slight adjustment, but there's more to come.
       The café is run by a younger married couple, but Henri, the boss, is getting restless again, and he disappears when he should be taking care of business. His wife is all in a tizzy when she's not sure what he's up to, and Pierre tries his best to keep things running more or less smoothly.
       Pierre is past his mid-life crisis -- which hit him hard when he turned fifty-four (that "almost threw me into the Seine, if you'll pardon the expression") -- and he seems more resigned-philosophical, admitting some regrets (especially about not really settling down) and wondering how his life has come to this. He's not completely resigned: there's a customer who always has his head stuck in a book, and though Pierre is no great reader he sometimes goes out and buys whatever he sees the fellow is reading, a volume of Queneau, a Primo Levi, for example. And he takes some pride in his role at the café, which seems to suit him. Events, however, force him to take more things than he's used to into his hands, life-changing turmoil that he's not sure he's up to any more at this stage in his life.
       The Waitress was New is a fairly simple story -- little more than a character-study. But Pierre is a sympathetic character, slowly revealed by Fabre (and the circumstances), and it makes for an appealing little novella.

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The Waitress was New: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       French author Dominique Fabre was born in 1960.

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© 2008 the complete review

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