1602 Hogeboom Avenue | East Hill | Eau Claire, WI

The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue

The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue

Regular price $16.95 Sale

From Biblioasis:


It’s October in Montreal, 2002, and winter is coming on fast. Past due on his first freelance gig and ensnared in lies to his family and friends, a graphic design student with a gambling addiction goes after the first job that promises a paycheck: dishwasher at the sophisticated La Trattoria. Though he feels out of place in the posh dining room, warned by the manager not to enter through the front and coolly assessed by the waitstaff in their tailored shirts, nothing could have prepared him for the tension and noise of the kitchen, or the dishpit’s clamor and steam. Thrust on his first night into a roiling cast of characters all moving with the whirlwind speed of the evening rush, it’s not long before he finds himself in over his head once again. A vivid, magnificent debut, with a soundtrack by Iron Maiden, The Dishwasher plunges us into a world in which everyone depends on each other—for better and for worse.

Praise for The Dishwasher

“Vivid and moving.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Carries you away like a speeding taxi in the harsh, dazzling Montreal night.”
Catherine Leroux, Giller-shortlisted author of The Party Wall and Madame Victoria

“A compelling coming-of-age novel told at the speed of thrash metal: an unlikely and masterful combination of inventive literary autofiction and an irresistible page-turner…The Dishwasher is a gripping tale of unlikely friendships, a romp through the underworld of late-night Montreal, and a blazing thrash metal ode to the heart of every restaurant, the humble dish pit.”
Montreal Review of Books

“A Québécois bestseller thankfully arrives for English readers. One can see how this bleak bildungsroman attracted so much attention in Canada…[The Dishwasher] reads like a cross between the dearly departed Anthony Bourdain and Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter, combining the complicated life of a kitchen wretch with a highly literate voice…hypnotizing.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A gruff-yet-affable working class lament, seasoned with hangdog determination and bleary verisimilitude. From the bar booths to the slop sinks to the shooting galleries of a painstakingly rendered Montreal, Larue proves himself a more than adept raconteur of blackout debauchery and wage labor drudgery. Think Nelson Algren by way of Bud Smith, such is the hardscrabble exactitude on offer in this wincing grin of a novel. An industrious and absorbing slab of cutthroat cuisine, Québécois death metal, and gambler’s dilemmas.”
—Justin Walls, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)

“I’ve never been to Montreal but I have worked in restaurants and Stéphane Larue’s The Dishwasher made me feel as if I do know that world in great, mad, detail. More importantly, it goes so beyond being a food industry novel or a novel about metal or gambling, it is a book that is both tender and tough. I appreciate this book for all that it must’ve taken to create–it is a wondrous thing.”
—Hans Weyandt, Milkweed Books (Minneapolis, MN)

The Dishwasher is a tragi-comic adventure through the dark underbelly of a high end Montreal restaurant kitchen that follows a down on his luck 30-something brilliantly talented artist with fabulous taste in music and a little gambling addiction. As much a philosophical dive into life, love, trust, obsession, and heavy metal as just a damn good story, The Dishwasher made me laugh, cringe,shake my head and drool over amazing food. I absolutely just couldn’t put this quirky cool debut novel by Canadian author Larue that is just perfect for fans of David Sedaris or Anthony Bourdain.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop (Southern Pines, NC)

“Prepare to get your soul scrubbed down and wrung out. This novel from Quebec captures a world that will be familiar to folks in the service and music industry. Vividly painted scenes from the trenches of a barely-functional kitchen during a rush followed by dizzying late-night get togethers make up this portrait of the loneliness of late-capitalism and the strength we can find from art and our allies. Gritty, loud, and compassionate.”
—Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

“A simple story of a want-to-be-artist that has to come to terms with the reality of his vices and get out of his own way. The pacing and phrasing of this novel is in beautiful contrast to the raw story told. The sense of place is unforgettable. From the behind the scenes look of working in a restaurant to the weight of addiction, I devoured every page as I found myself hopeful for the underdog in this brilliant debut.”
—Shannon Alden, Literati Bookshop (Ann Arbor, MI)

“The only thing I did last weekend was read The Dishwasher.”
—Caitlin Luce Baker, Island Books (Seattle, WA)

“A perfectly crafted story…the narrator’s conquest of his gambling addiction ebbs and flows, marked by success and failure, hope and defeat…The Dishwasher is a thoughtful examination of a young man at the end of his options—a humanizing, emotive, and entertaining tale of personal growth.”
Foreword Reviews

“The turbulent, immersive narration is an experience on its own. The result is often breathtaking: five hundred feverish pages that take us to a place somewhere between Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler and Anthony Bourdain’s KItchen Confidential…. Poignant and magnificent.”
—Le Devoir (Montreal)

“Feverish writing, Montreal streets and characters magnificently described, mind-bending descriptions of what happens behind the scenes at restaurants–you’ll never see them in the same way once you’ve finished the book–a story that is both a dark tale and an existential suspense story, it all combines to make the book unputdownable…. It may be over 500 pages long, but so moving is the story that once you’ve started it, you feel the irresistible desire to devour it in a single sitting.”
—Le Soleil (Quebec City)