The Glass Hotel

 The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel

I read Mandel's earlier novel, Station Eleven, a few years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit.  I wasn't really planning on reading this, though, until I heard an interview with her and got intrigued.  So here we are.  And it's a really good novel!

At the north end of Vancouver Island, far away from anywhere, there stands a luxurious hotel facing out to sea.  

2005: graffiti scrawled on the window: "Why don't you swallow broken glass?"  It's quickly covered with a large plant, and Vincent, the bartender, doesn't know what it means.  She flirts with the wealthy hotel owner, and within a few months they are living together, telling the world they're married. 

2008: Jonathan Alkatis is arrested for running a huge international Ponzi scheme.  His investors' retirement funds are gone, among them a retired painter, a shipping executive, a Mafia gangster.  Vincent walks away and melts into the crowd.

2018: Vincent, working on a shipping vessel, disappears from it in the middle of the ocean.  Murder?  Suicide?  Accident? 

Vincent is far from the only protagonist in this story, though.  She and many others slip in and out of sight, their stories crossing and influencing each other in unseen ways.  We see 1958 and 2010, prison and campgrounds and bars and the sea.  In the kaleidoscope Mandel offers, we see people search for meaning, and sometimes they even find it.

I thought it was an excellent novel, and I ripped right through it.  So consider this a recommendation.


Comments

Karen K. said…
I liked it too, though it was quite different from Station Eleven. And now I have a secret fantasy to in which I run away and become a cook on a marine vessel (though not one as big as the Ever Given!)
Jeanne said…
It is good, but I found it very disturbing https://necromancyneverpays.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/the-glass-hotel/
jenclair said…
I really liked Station Eleven and have this one on my list!
Cleo said…
Wow, sounds fascinating although slightly disturbing. It's of especial interest as I live near Vancouver Island.
mudpuddle said…
Happy Easter, Jean!
Brona said…
Excellent! Mr Books read this on our recent holiday & I'm planning on getting to it soon.

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