Pierre is a veteran bartender in a café on the outskirts of Paris. When the café goes under, he is at a loss for what to do next: at 56 years old, he’s too young for retirement and too weary to move blithely on to another job. Pierre gains our trust immediately through his perceptive eye and understated wit. As we follow his inner monologue over the course of three days, his sensitivity and profound solitude are revealed. While a quiet book, the themes it brings into play are immense: the terror of aging, the need for human contact (however superficial), and our precarious dependence on forces beyond our control. The Waitress Was New is a moving portrait of human anguish and weakness, of understated nobility and strength.