Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


No title (2005)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1251396,356 (4.02)93

Work details

The Waitress Was New (Archipelago Books) by Dominique Fabre (2005)

  1. 00
    Monsieur Lambert by Jean-Jacques Sempé (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Accounts of everyday life in a Parisian cafe. Nothing earth-shattering occurs, though in both books the everyday routine is suddenly disrupted. Sempe's book is slightly more charming and Fabre's slightly more melancholy but both are very nice indeed.
  2. 00
    Pierrot mon ami by Raymond Queneau (PaulDalton)
  3. 00
    Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan (DetailMuse)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 93 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book, but the author's/translator's sentence structure made me bonkers. ( )
  KatieCarella | Apr 12, 2014 |
A veteran bartender of Le Cercle, Pierre, lives a simple life. He is the unassuming listener of customer stories and covers up for the boss of the cafe when he disappears for a day or two with his latest fling, and helps out at the cafe until he returns.

On the day a new waitress is hired at the cafe, the boss disappears in the afternoon without word to his wife or Pierre. Bu this time he doesn't come back the day after, or in a week. In the meantime, Pierre has to suddenly not only manage the cafe, the new waitress and the cook, but he is also put in the position of suddenly being the boss's wife's confidant and having to comfort her.

Oh and he's worried enough to try looking for his boss as well. Before long, his life is thrown into upheaval at an unexpected announcement and he takes stock of his life on a day he had not seen coming.

This poignant study of Pierre and his solitude highlights a person who is overlooked, but who is also at times taken advantage of. ( )
2 vote cameling | Feb 13, 2012 |
The Waitress Was New is the story of an aging French bartender working in a small cafe in a middle-class neighborhood. Everything about the setting connotes ordinariness, and yet through the character of Pierre, we are gently reminded of the uniqueness of each life story. An internal monologue, the book relates the Pierre's thoughts over the course of a few pivotal days.

Pierre has worked at Le Cercle for many years, establishing cordial relationships with the regulars, the owners, and the two other employees. He is settled and content with the world inside the cafe, rarely looking outside. His internal life is preoccupied with his solitude, his age, and the respect he has earned from his customers and colleagues. Life is quiet, respectable, and secure. But things begin to unravel around him, and Pierre must weather the changes as best he can.

Only a hundred pages long, the novel resembles a vignette or a character study. Fabre's ability to draw a character is deft, and the language is delicate and by turns funny and bittersweet. The Waitress Was New is Fabre first book to be translated into English, and I will definitely look for more as they are (hopefully) published. ( )
  labfs39 | Feb 12, 2011 |
The Book Report: Over the course of three days, fifty-six-year-old barman Pierre's life at Le Cercle cafe goes from six-year-long trudge towards retirement to unemployment as his creep of a midlife-crisis-ridden boss apparently abandons wife and business for the arms of a younger woman. Said wife even sends Pierre looking for her husband in all the usual suspects' haunts. Pierre, faithful to his own code of honor, does his best to make the situation work by hunting boss-man down, but comes up empty and reports failure; this is followed by the boss-lady's decision to close the cafe. Temporarily, she says, while she finds her husband and sorts things out.

Pierre, lacking other commitments and entanglements in his life, watches over the bar, lets the food and liquor delivery people in, wipes his spotless bar down, and watches his regulars drink and eat at La Rotonde, the competing bar across the square. At the end of a week of this useless work, plus the more useful work of getting his pension paperwork in order (four and a half years to go until the full ride is achieved), Pierre gets the call: The boss and wife are in Saint-Malo, starting afresh, and they've agreed to sell Le Cercle to someone else. The staff will be paid to the end of the month, and goodbye.

So what does Pierre do? He opens up. He serves the regulars, the staff, all comers, on the house. Why not? He's been screwed out of a safe and secure position, one he does well, and so why not do it one last time? Then he goes home. And because he can't think of anything else to do, he goes to bed. Fin.

My Review: How wonderful to read a book like this, short and to the point, one that allows me the reader to discover what kind of person the narrator/PoV character is without being spoon-fed opinions by a mistrustful author.

How interesting to be a fly on the wall behind the bar looking on as a business, a thriving one, loses its anchor and spins out of control. How pleasurable to see that not all the occupants of this anchorless business flee like rats from a sinking ship; the staunchness of the narrator is made up from equal parts honor and lack of imagination, which he sort of vaguely realizes.

And how very ordinary a man he is: Old enough to have weathered midlife, too young to view retirement with equanimity, still alive enough to notice the lack of a love in his life, and yet not vital enough to break the deadhanded grip of his difficult past (adopted at ten by the woman he still thinks of as his mother, dead these 12 years) and participate fully in the emotional life of the world. In short, there are millions of him walking around, a part of one small segment of the world yet apart from all the main channels of life.

The new waitress of the title replaced the waitress that the boss was having an affair with for two and more years. She started on Monday, and by Wednesday the cafe had closed. She lived in the farthest reaches of Paris, traveled over an hour to get to the job, and she was already tired of the job. Pierre reports these facts, he comments on them only in the briefest passages, but the reader feels, thanks to deft authorial choices made by the translator, the whole history of Pierre's life in the short transit of the new girl: He's always in transit, is Pierre, always looking at the ground he's standing on, waiting for it to root him, when he can't imagine how he should send down his own roots.

What a joy it was to read this book. Please, do the same for yourself, and revel in the short moment of being treated to a close look at someone more like you than is probably comfortable to view, and at the same time as the adult you certainly are at this point in your reading life. ( )
6 vote richardderus | Nov 29, 2010 |
This is an absolute gem of a book. The plot of this story does not contain any edge-of-the-seat excitements, no stunning revelations nor great insights into the human condition. Yet, despite that, I didn't want to put this book down. What Fabre—an author whose two-sentence Wikipedia entry describes as a...novelist who focuses 'on the lives of individuals on the margins of society'—has done is to let the reader experience a fellow human being.

The old adage is that an author should show, not tell, and this story has that in spades. I felt I was looking through the eyes of Pierre, an ordinary, slightly lonely, middle-aged man who tends bar in a Parisian café, watching his customers and fellow staff, and worrying a bit about his retirement. It's done well: it's thoughtful, poignant, and humorous. In only 115 pages I felt I knew Pierre and, to the extent he knew and understood them himself, all those around him.

I can't decide if this book will work for everyone. So many of Pierre's thoughts are set in a context of middle age. But, for those who can empathize with his concerns, this is well worth reading. ( )
18 vote TadAD | Oct 24, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dominique Fabreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stump, JordanTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Oh yes! I hated Sundays,
Because that's the day when I think
And count the days past and to come.
-- Pierre Morhange
First words
The waitress was new here.
I've slept alone for too long. I've never even had a chance to try Viagra, which apparently works wonders, and ends lots of marriages, from what I hear in the cafe. I'd like to from time to time.
The young couple finally left, they seemed very much in love, the way people are when it's part-time, if you don't mind my saying.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0977857697, Paperback)

“A tiny fragment of life, simply told and yet touching in the extreme.”—French Book News

Pierre, a lifelong Parisian waiter, watches people come and go, sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesn’t look outside too much; he prefers to let the world come to him. When the café goes under, Pierre finds himself at a loss. As we follow his stream of thought over three days, Pierre’s humanity and profound solitude are revealed.

Dominique Fabre is the author of six novels. He won the Marcel Pagnol Prize for Fantômes in 2001. The Waitress was New is his first book to appear in English.

Jordan Stump is a noted translator of modern French novelists, including Marie Redonnet and Éric Chevillard.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:58 -0400)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
12 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.02)
3 4
3.5 4
4 24
4.5 6
5 4

Archipelago Books

2 editions of this book were published by Archipelago Books.

Editions: 0977857697, 1935744100

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,489,197 books! | Top bar: Always visible