The Deli Diaries
by Ella Weber
Praise for The Deli Diaries:
"A stream-of-consciousness tour through a shift that is at once one day and many days, with Della pontificating on life, reality shows, dating, the patriarchy, and everything in between."
"Weber sees to the depths of America's depravity and manages to keep on laughing. The thing is to both see it and survive it, and somehow Ella Weber and her fictional alter ego, Della, the Sybil of the supermarket, has done this. Caustic and suave, serious and weightless, ecstatic and dangling over the abyss, The Deli Diaries is the Great American Novel I have been waiting for."
--Sofi Thanhauser, author of Worn: A People's History of Clothing
"Weber’s whimsical, fresh language has a way of catching you off guard, leaving you simultaneously laughing out loud and unexpectedly moved by her profound search for meaning in the millennial artist's life. She seamlessly intertwines Tinder dates, surreal daydreams, comically mundane human interactions, one-of-a-kind characters, and pop culture references -- and it’s delightful mayHAM. The perfect book for those who don't read."
--Noa Osheroff, writer, director, and comedy producer
“Who ham I,” Ella Weber’s narrator, Della, asks amid the gleaming aisles of her supermarket workplace, and the postmodern abundance answers as it always does, with countless cravings and bafflements. A weird, wonderful fusion of Bridget Jones’s Diary and White Noise, The Deli Diaries is an all-American mirror and window, bildungsroman and standup routine, manifesto and fever dream."
--Todd Robinson, author of Mass for Shut-Ins and Note at Heart Rock
“Weber’s book explores the unwritten suppositions of society while it refreshingly discards those of writing. This glimpse of a world through the lens of character (undoubtedly Ms. Weber herself) is a delightfully voyeuristic trip into the wit and humor that sustains us through an otherwise dismal, immutable reality. Few have the ability to translate it so charmingly into humanity. Weber is one of them.”
--Ammi Midstokke, author of All the Things: Mountain Misadventure, Relationshipping, and Other Hazards of an Off-Grid Life
"Having lived the book daily through proximity with the author and after reading 72 pages, I endorse this book."
"Ella is an American treasure, a diamond in the rough, a writer in a suburban Nebraska grocery store deli. She brings lightness to the mundane and hope to a hopeless place; a suburban Nebraska grocery story deli."
--Andy Haynes, writer, actor, and stand-up comedian
Fresh out of art school with a pile of debt and a broken heart, Della moves into her parents’ basement in suburban Nebraska and lands a “temporary” job as a deli clerk. Struggling to smile under the small talk of corporate commands, she contends with mind-numbing eight-hour shifts, bumbling management, ruthless secret shoppers, and a crew of misfit coworkers. Despite the monotonous drudgery, can Della stay true to herself and find creative inspiration in a life behind the counter?
With inimitable quirkiness and fever dream flair, Ella Weber’s debut novel is a hysterical yet heartfelt parody of millennial plight, Midwest mediocrity, overweening artistic ambition, and the inanity of the daily delicatessen grind. As inventive and entertaining as autofiction gets, The Deli Diaries is an unforgettable slice of life unafraid to ask the big questions: Who ham I? What ham I? Where ham I?
Ella Weber is a basement-based artist who uses humor, play, and storytelling within her practice. She received an MFA in printmaking at the University of Kansas. Balancing life as a starving artist, Ella transforms her day jobs into an extension of her studio. Across the counter, Ella blurs the line between employee and customer, performance and reality, art and life. As a recovering deli clerk, Ella is now considering a career in produce and continues to live, laugh, love in Omaha, Nebraska. The Deli Diaries is her debut novel.