2020 Longlist

The Waiter


Translated from the Norwegian by Alice Menzies

2020 Longlist

The Hills dates from a time when pigs were pigs and swine were swine, the Maître D’ likes to say-in other words from the mid-1800s. Every day begins with the head waiter putting on his jacket. In with one arm, then the other. Shrugged onto his shoulders. Horn buttons done up. Always the same.

There is clinking. Cutlery is moved around porcelain and up to mouths. But in this universe unto itself, there is scarcely any contact between the tables of regulars. And that is precisely how the waiter likes it. Sheer routine…until a beautiful young woman walks through the door and upsets the delicate balance of the restaurant and all it has come to represent.

About the Author

Matias Faldbakken is a world-renowned contemporary artist and writer who shows with the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, and has been hailed as one of the freshest new voices to emerge in Norwegian literature during the past decade. The Waiter is his first novel in nine years and the very first he has written under his own name.

Librarian’s Comments

He is a waiter in an old world café that has beautiful, well-ordered ways of serving an array of regular clientele. Told in the first-person, this waiter is a keen observer of humanity, a social-political-art critic, regulator of traditions, and perceptively aware of things going awry in the world around him.  Through the mind of the waiter, Faldbakken has presented an evocative treatise on modern life.  Los Angeles Public Library, USA

Faldbakken has written an atmospheric novel set in a grand old restaurant in Oslo.  The narrator is an old-school waiter, hopelessly out of time.  He is an anachronism, but he knows it. This is a dark comedy.  Deichman Oslo Public Library, Norway





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