There’s an apt quote from the New York Times about this one: ‘He builds a delicious tension between the paucity of events and the lavishness of the technique with which they are described’. And I could not agree more. I adored this book – for its strangeness, for its humour, for its frequent flat-out awkwardness. I expect a lot of people will not like it, and its all the better for that.
Welcome to The Hills, Oslo’s most esteemed restaurant, an institution stewed in tradition and clinging to the faded grandeur of old Europe. A neurotic waiter tends to the desires of his regular – and irregular – clientele. Aristocrats and artistes, wealthy widows and roguish entrepreneurs, he observes all their dramas with a wit as sharp as a filleting knife. At table ten sits the impeccable Mr Graham, the most demanding of them all, impatiently awaiting a special guest. When at last she arrives – young, beautiful, mysterious – she will prove a challenging new flavour, throwing into disarray our waiter’s nerves, and the delicately balanced ingredients of the room.
Exquisitely observed and wickedly playful, ‘The Waiter’ is a novel for lovers of food, wine, and of European sensibilities, but also for anyone who spends time in restaurants, on either side of the service.