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Stewart O’Nan

Bestselling novelist of Last Night at the Lobster, The Odds, Emily, Alone, and Henry, Himself

  • About Stewart O’Nan

    Stewart O’Nan is the author of sixteen previous novels, including West of Sunset, The OddsEmily AloneSongs for the Missing, Last Night at the LobsterA Prayer for the Dying, and Snow Angels. His 2007 novel, Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His newest novel, Henry, Himself, published in April 2019.  He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, where he lives with his family.


  • Speaking Topics

    Emily, Alone

    Last Night at the Lobster

    Songs for the Missing

    The Odds

  • Praise for Stewart O’Nan

    Praise for Henry, Himself

    Beautifully spare and poignant… Most of us know a man like Henry…but we know him from the outside. The gift of O’Nan’s fiction is to immerse us deeply in Henry’s essence, in his desire to be useful and his nostalgia for a vanished way of life… And when we watch him winding the clocks forward, we find ourselves wishing he could just hold the minute hand motionless for just a while longer.

    The New York Times Book Review

    O’Nan has returned to the mode that marks his best work, capturing America’s shaky middle class with dignity and without flag-waving hagiography or overworked meaning-making. (His 2007 novel, “Last Night at the Lobster,” is a modern classic about shift work.)

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    Mr. O’Nan . . . excels at observing nuanced dramas and personalities playing out beneath the skin of something as mundane an extended family at their summer cottage, doing a jigsaw puzzle during a rainstorm. This is a book about how life’s major plotlines roll by beneath the tide of moments and routine, ocean flotsam, surfacing only to sink again.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    When it comes to writers working today, none may be better than Stewart O'Nan at portraying the intimate details of simple daily life. His new novel, HENRY, HIMSELF, is yet further evidence of that estimable talent. In this prequel to WISH YOU WERE HERE and EMILY, ALONE, O'Nan applies it on a return visit to the Maxwell family of Pittsburgh, seen this time through the eyes of its patriarch. It's a tender story of a year in old age of a member of the Greatest Generation, a reflection on what it means to live a thoroughly decent, if unexceptional, life.


    This story is set in 1998. Henry, a 75-year-old retired engineer, is slowing down and taking stock of his life--marriage and fatherhood, his work, what he's proud of and what he regrets. As in the other books, living through the mundane of everyday life resurrects memories of the past and raises existential questions. Henry considers his worth, whether he is a good person and what the future holds for him and Emily and the complicated lives of their offspring who chronically bewilder and disappoint. . . O'Nan is a graceful, meticulous writer. Carefully chosen details woven into a stream-of-consciousness narrative magnify small, ordinary moments that ultimately lead toward profound enlightenment.

    Shelf Awareness

    Praise for City of Secrets

    Excellent . . . a little jewel, wonderfully sparse, moody and uneasy, reminiscent of the delicious, frayed-collar noir of le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. . . You can smell the squally desert wind that bends the cypress trees on the Jerusalem hills but never brings the rain. City of Secrets makes for great summer reading.

    The New York Times Book Review

    Post-World War II Jerusalem is the provocative setting for Stewart O’Nan’s atmospheric thriller. . . a richly-imagined story. . . may be one of O’Nan’s best. Its strength lies in his ability, as always, to take us inside the minds and souls of characters, real or imagined.

    The Chicago Tribune

    A fine piece of storytelling. . . a work in the exotic historic mode of Graham Greene, with the drier and grittier tone of Raymond Chandler. . . the moral struggle in City of Secrets is timeless and international.

    The Boston Globe
  • Books by Stewart O’Nan

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