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Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
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Pink Hotel (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Anna Stothard

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11011109,733 (3.66)28
Member:thereaderscommute
Title:Pink Hotel
Authors:Anna Stothard
Info:Alma Publishing Company (2011), Paperback, 300 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
(Taken from a review on my blog, The Reader's Commute):

As readers, we learn along with the narrator about the character that was Lily. We learn that “her bedroom reeked of cigarette ash and stale perfume” on the very first page. However, this small detail is not enough for the narrator, a girl who relishes in ample sleep and physical pain. Like someone who incessantly presses a bruise, the narrator delves deeper into the world that was her mother’s. She wears Lily’s clothes (even her underwear), reads her love letters, and pays visits to acquaintances and old lovers. She doesn’t seem to really care that she’s upsetting the balance of this world, or causing hurt to Lily’s husband, Richard (a dangerous, red-haired man). The narrator in The Pink Hotel is relentless. She fights on the soccer field, she repeats words that have “musical qualities,” and she continuously hounds people for information on Lily.

Even after she falls in love and begins living with David, a photographer who once knew her mother, the narrator cannot let go of her obsession. She lies to David and says that she has disposed of Lily’s clothing, and humors him while wearing the clothing he has picked out for her (the cardigans and skirts that David buys her do not reflect her personality - or the personality she wants to have - as much as Lily’s leather jacket and silk fuchsia dress). Saddest of all: David does not know that his new lover is Lily’s daughter.

The scenes between the narrator and David are heartbreaking and obsessive. She loves him, yet hurts him without his knowledge. He is a recovering alcoholic who sees some semblance of goodness in this young girl, and he wants to turn his life around. Meanwhile, the narrator has this desperate desire to feel something; she makes frequent mentions of injuries suffered, the game of pressing pressure points to facilitate fainting, and masochistic dreams she’s had where she is tied to a laundry machine for hours. In a pivotal argument scene with David, the narrator feels a rush of excitement when she thinks that David is going to hit her. She is left disappointed, and she suffers silently.

Everyone in The Pink Hotel suffers silently. David grapples with alcoholism and a secret sadness; Julie, a bartender, pushes away her emotions with heroin; the narrator’s grandmother suffers from a stroke that takes away her ability to speak. Despite all of this silence, this novel speaks volumes. The prose is gorgeous, full of unexpected descriptions that left me thinking: this is so true.

While some readers may be put-off by an unnamed narrator, I felt that I was really able to identify the narrator of The Pink Hotel as an individual. Her feelings, her vivid dreams, and her actions made her stand out. Like Emily Vidal in The Adults, she seems wise beyond her years. Her thoughts are complicated, beautiful, and sad. I think she will sit with me for a long time, and I look forward to a reread of The Pink Hotel. ( )
  thereaderscommute | Apr 13, 2014 |
(Taken from a review on my blog, The Reader's Commute):

As readers, we learn along with the narrator about the character that was Lily. We learn that “her bedroom reeked of cigarette ash and stale perfume” on the very first page. However, this small detail is not enough for the narrator, a girl who relishes in ample sleep and physical pain. Like someone who incessantly presses a bruise, the narrator delves deeper into the world that was her mother’s. She wears Lily’s clothes (even her underwear), reads her love letters, and pays visits to acquaintances and old lovers. She doesn’t seem to really care that she’s upsetting the balance of this world, or causing hurt to Lily’s husband, Richard (a dangerous, red-haired man). The narrator in The Pink Hotel is relentless. She fights on the soccer field, she repeats words that have “musical qualities,” and she continuously hounds people for information on Lily.

Even after she falls in love and begins living with David, a photographer who once knew her mother, the narrator cannot let go of her obsession. She lies to David and says that she has disposed of Lily’s clothing, and humors him while wearing the clothing he has picked out for her (the cardigans and skirts that David buys her do not reflect her personality - or the personality she wants to have - as much as Lily’s leather jacket and silk fuchsia dress). Saddest of all: David does not know that his new lover is Lily’s daughter.

The scenes between the narrator and David are heartbreaking and obsessive. She loves him, yet hurts him without his knowledge. He is a recovering alcoholic who sees some semblance of goodness in this young girl, and he wants to turn his life around. Meanwhile, the narrator has this desperate desire to feel something; she makes frequent mentions of injuries suffered, the game of pressing pressure points to facilitate fainting, and masochistic dreams she’s had where she is tied to a laundry machine for hours. In a pivotal argument scene with David, the narrator feels a rush of excitement when she thinks that David is going to hit her. She is left disappointed, and she suffers silently.

Everyone in The Pink Hotel suffers silently. David grapples with alcoholism and a secret sadness; Julie, a bartender, pushes away her emotions with heroin; the narrator’s grandmother suffers from a stroke that takes away her ability to speak. Despite all of this silence, this novel speaks volumes. The prose is gorgeous, full of unexpected descriptions that left me thinking: this is so true.

While some readers may be put-off by an unnamed narrator, I felt that I was really able to identify the narrator of The Pink Hotel as an individual. Her feelings, her vivid dreams, and her actions made her stand out. Like Emily Vidal in The Adults, she seems wise beyond her years. Her thoughts are complicated, beautiful, and sad. I think she will sit with me for a long time, and I look forward to a reread of The Pink Hotel. ( )
  thereaderscommute | Apr 13, 2014 |
Lily is dead. Lily’s daughter (I can find no other name for her) knows little about her mother. She sneaks into the pink hotel her mother ran for her mother’s wake. Impulsively, she steals her mother’s red suitcase. And thus begins the adventure, the noir mystery that is this book.

Mystery is a solid one-word summary of this story. Lily’s daughter doesn’t know much about her mother. Lily’s daughter’s dad doesn’t know much about Lily’s daughter. Lily’s daughter doesn’t know much about herself. She wanders around the pink hotel and the other places important to her mother and gets to know a little about the mother she never knew and the people her mother loved and even a little about herself.

I liked this book very much. ( )
  debnance | Jan 4, 2014 |
The Pink Hotel by the young author Anna Stothard is just one rung up from a YA novel. A young woman arrives from London to attend the funeral of her mother whom she has hardly known, and begins a search for her father and people who can tell her more about her mother. This search, and the structure of the story, is conveniently facilitated by her theft of a suitcase which contains some of her mothers' personal belongings and letters. Each item or letter is the peg for another adventure. The setting of the story, and the backdrop of her search is the wild, lawless scene of Los Angeles of the US, as the story unfolds beginning with a sex-and-drugs lecherous party in her mother's the private apartment at the Pink Hotel.

The novel has all the characteristics of a badly written, style and thoughtless bravura by an adolescent author discovered by an editor who needs to score with a talent-in-the-bud. It is a stir-fry of sex, drugs, expletives and brainless story. ( )
  edwinbcn | Dec 1, 2013 |
I was sent an uncorrected Digital Galley of The Pink Hotel, by Anna Stothard by NetGalley.com in return for my thoughts and feedback. The novel started off well and captured my attention from the first page. The narrator of the story was a seventeen year old British girl who when the story opens was attending a drug and alcohol fueled party in California at the Pink Hotel given in honor of the memory of her mother who abandoned the girl when she was three years old. Her mother died in a motorcycle accident. The Pink Hotel was owned by her mother, and though no one attending the party knew who she was, the girl circulated the party trying to get clues to learn about her mother. The girl stumbled upon her mother's upstairs apartment where she found a suitcase filled with mementos, photos, letters, and personal papers. The daughter stole the suitcase with the intention of getting to know her mother and glean a glimpse into her life.

The narrator is nameless, and this was part of the problem. The reader didn't feel a real connection to any of the characters. I wish the items from the suitcase would have provided more insight, but there were neither enough clues nor enough people that truly knew the mother to make the journey a success. At some point the story took a turn and became more about the daughter than the search to find out about her mother.

Although the premise of the story was a good one, I needed more than this story offered. ( )
  2LZ | Apr 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The Pink Hotel is about another teenager, who flies from London to Los Angeles to discover more about her biological mother, Lily, who has died young....Stothard is at her most acute when observing the people inhabiting Tinseltown; having transported her English heroine there, it's a pity not to see more of the movie business. Better at comedy than anomie, she has an ear for a distinctive phrase (as when describing "the edgy, watery sound of teenage girls laughing") and dialogue, although her ending feels in need of a Ross Macdonald-type twist. This touching, convoluted love-story is shot through with a distinctive talent, but it is the second novel of a writer still teetering on the edge of the adult world. Next time, readers will hope she is fully engaged with it.
 
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Her bedroom reeked of cigarette ash and stale perfume.
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amazon uk :Product Description
A seventeen-year-old London girl flies to Los Angeles for the funeral of her mother Lily, from whom she had been separated in her childhood. After stealing a suitcase of letters, clothes and photographs from her mum's bedroom at the top of a hotel on Venice Beach, the girl spends her summer travelling around Los Angeles returning love letters and photographs to the men who had known her mother. As she discovers more about Mandy's past and tries to re-enact her life, she comes to question the foundations of her own personality.
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After her mothers death, a girl steals a suitcase of letters, clothes and photographs from her mum's bedroom and spends her summer travelling around Los Angeles returning love letters and photographs to the men who had known her mother.

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