Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken’s novel The Waitor is a story of waiters and regulars, bar-managers and cloakroom managers, chandeliers and mezzanines, storage cellars and in-house pianists. The result is a smart and entertaining novel.
The Waiter (English translation 2018 – original title The Hills) is a finely tuned story of a grand European restaurant that has seen better days. Its continental interior greets the visitors as they enter the premises surrounded by walls covered in portraits, drawings, paintings and stamps. The one who guides the reader through this landscape is a waiter, a veteran of thirteen years. One day, the restaurant The Hills is irrevocably upset by an unexpected guest, a young woman who’s taking a seat among the regulars.
A captivating study
Normally, there is scarcely any contact between the tables in The Hills, but this young woman upsets the delicate balance of all the establishment has come to represent. The Waiter is an unexpected smart and entertaining novel about collapsing structures and a world caught somewhere between diligence and decay. Matias Faldbakken has a rare talent for observation and an uncompromising eye for detail and humor. He pushes the performances of the novel to the point of absurdity and at the same time in a manner that evokes a sense of unease as well as gravity. The novel is a captivating study in miniature and seems so effortlessly and candidly written.
“As if The Remains of the Day had been written by Kingsley Amis, The Waiter is a brilliantly exquisite view into an uproariously vigilant life of service and protocol. In Faldbakken’s skilled hands, a mordant, lonely waiter in a declining restaurant becomes a raw, scrupulous force, powering one of the most purely entertaining novels I’ve read in years. This book is a meal you won’t want to finish.” J. Ryan Stradal.
The New York Times Book Review, US wrote, “Faldbakken has a way with nonaction. He builds a delicious tension between the paucity of events and the lavishness of the technique with which they are described. His waiter, though taciturn while on duty, is a chatterbox as a narrator, providing a busy, intricate analysis until each minor stumble achieves seismic status. Played in slow motion, his malfunctions unspool as slapstick with an undertow of dread. As the story moves along, the waiter loses his sense of who he is and what he’s supposed to be doing so completely that he starts to seem like a man who could do anything. He’s like Travis Bickle played by Buster Keaton.”
About Matias Faldbakken
Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken (b. 1973), has unanimously been hailed as the freshest new voice to emerge in Norwegian literature during the past decade. He made his literary debut in 2001, with the much praised and award-winning The Cocka Hola Company – Scandinavian Misanthropy I.
Two years later, it was followed by the equally critically acclaimed and fervidly debated Macht und Rebel – Scandinavian Misanthropy II. In Spring 2008, Matias Faldbakken brought the trilogy to a close with Unfun – Scandinavian Misanthropy III, thereby completing one of the most exciting and original literary projects in contemporary Scandinavian fiction. The Waiter is Faldbakken’s first novel in nine years and the very first he writes under his own name.
Smart and Entertaining Norwegian Novel translated into French
The Waiter has recently been translated into French and received extensive reviews in La Monde, L’Express and Le Figaro. Faldbakken’s novel will be published by the prestigious French publisher Fayard.
Smart and Entertaining Norwegian Novel, written by Tor Kjolberg