Barnaby Griswold has never been much of an athlete, or even very sportsmanlike; he tends to cheat when the match is on the line. He’s not much of a fighter either, more likely to throw a rock than an honest punch.

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In a New York City steakhouse, with its high-ceilinged dining room, linen-covered tables, and its filthy, sweaty kitchens, an aging career waiter–jokingly nicknamed “Hero”–moves with numbed silence through his heavy litany of service. Once a successful college graduate but now a down-and-out loner whose alcoholic past haunts him, Hero must risk an old man’s precarious all to win honor in his restaurant world.

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As a corporate “undertaker” for a mergers and acquisitions firm in New York, Carol MacLean travels from factory to factor, firing blue-collar workers who remind her of her father and the kids she grew up with. She hates her job. But Carol has been biding her time: her boss has promised that one day, after she has paid her dues, Carol will get to run a company instead of having to bury it. Continue reading



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