BOOK REVIEW: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I thought it would be fun to share some of my 5-star reads, some of the books that have made it onto my favourite lists in Goodreads. Some will be recent and some will be from years ago, but 5-star reads need to be shared.

I was delighted when I got approved for an eARC over on #NetGalley. I haven’t yet read Station Eleven but I’ve heard loads and loads of good reviews.

And The Glass Hotel cover is one of my favourite cover designs over the last year. Doesn’t it just grab your attention? It did mine.

Book Blurb:

The extraordinary novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of Station Eleven

Vincent is the beautiful bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: ‘Why don’t you swallow broken glass.’ Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.

Weaving together the lives of these characters, Emily St John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of remote British Columbia, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

I think this is an example of the book blurb not doing the novel justice. I think the blurb sounds a tad pedestrian. But I will put my hand up and say I probably couldn’t have done better if I was to try and outline the book, I would struggle to capture its magic as well.

The Glass Hotel is a book about the small details, and the writing – the beautiful, beautiful writing. It is s a meandering sort of story with some very memorable characters and beautiful settings. And lots of water imagery – some lovely and some eerie.

I thought The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel was a great read, and a book that I think is going to do well. Very. Well.

I wish I had taken the time to highlight some of the writing and my favourite passages, but I simply read. I was absorbed in the world of The Glass Hotel and the Ponzi scheme. And the world the characters inhabited. I thought Vincent was a rather special character and her story line was probably my favourite.

I also learned something from The Glass Hotel – I learned what a Ponzi scheme was…

A Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒnzi/, Italian: [ˈpontsi]; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds. A Ponzi scheme can maintain the illusion of a sustainable business as long as new investors contribute new funds, and as long as most of the investors do not demand full repayment and still believe in the non-existent assets they are purported to own.

I thought that The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel was utterly captivating, but if I was being super picky I did think it was maybe a tad confusing near the beginning. This a novel with a lot of characters and a lot of slightly disjointed threads that jump through different time periods and story arcs. Sounds confusing, right? But it isn’t it just takes a moment to all come together. It is a book that needs you to read it in larger chunks and dedicate a wee bit of time too.

I really enjoyed following the stories and lives of the individuals as it all unfolded.

The Glass Hotel was so good it gave me a massive book hangover. And it made me rush off to buy Station Eleven and add ALL her other books to my wishlist.

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