The Glass Hotel

Emily St. John Mandel       Pages: 301        Published: 2020

The book: Vincent and her half-brother, Paul, work in the exclusive and remote Hotel Caiette on Vancouver Island. Just before an important guest arrives, a strange message etched in acid, appears on a hotel window.
Who left the message and why? How will working at the hotel impact the lives of Vincent and Paul?

You might like it because: Mandel’s writing is beautiful and feels effortless to read. Her characters are incredibly engaging, even the ones you don’t like.
This is a story of crisis and survival. It’s about the past we carry with us and the choices, some seemingly insignificant, that we make that can have huge implications on our lives.

What did other people say?
The Glass Hotel is a masterpiece, just as good — if not better — than its predecessor. It’s a stunning look at how people react to disasters, both small and large, and the temptation that some have to give up when faced with tragedy.”    – NPR

“A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.” – Kirkus

Awards & Recognition:
New York Times Best Seller

How quickly will you get into the book?
The first two pages were intriguing but mystifying: it was not clear what was going on. From there, the writing pulled me along until page 15 which was the point of no return.
I could not put the book down after that.

You might not like it because: There are many characters and plot lines that intersect but the connections are not always immediately apparent. These multiple story lines may frustrate some readers who prefer a more delineated plot.
It is a rather melancholy book with many characters who are very broken people. It’s not depressing but it’s not uplifting either.

What might you read next?
A third of the way through The Glass Hotel, F. Scott Fitzgerald is mentioned. You could read his book, The Great Gatsby.

In a Medium interview, Mandel said that she admires the writing of Charles Yu. Read his book How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe which she specifically mentioned.

In the same interview Mandel talked about Patricia Highsmith, of whom she said, “I just think she’s a genius.” You could read Highsmith’s The Two Faces of January.

© 2020