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Hotel world by Ali Smith
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Hotel world (2001)

by Ali Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (22)  Dutch (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Despite its humour this is a book full of melancholy, the focus of the first three sections being on a person who’s fallen to her death, a severely ill down and out and a chronically ill young woman as well as someone who prides herself on not feeling guilt.

I can see why this novel was short-listed for the Booker. It’s a creative bundle, structured to made a chronological story but each part from a different character’s viewpoint. The narrative for the distraught sister of the deceased is a stream of consciousness, apt for someone on the edge even if, without the usual punctuation, it’s more demanding for the reader.

There’s humour in this book, for example when the chronically sick receptionist thinks about the way people respond to those who are ill: ‘For days after their visit they test themselves, listening for the press of glands . . . Who’s there? Vi. Vi who? Vi Russ, we met at your fiend’s house, don’t you know me?’ If anything, though, this simply highlights the sadness of the book, focusing as it does on the finality of death and the inequality and hopelessness in the world.

Ali Smith is certainly an effective writer but I found this novel a little too depressing. ( )
  evening | Dec 1, 2013 |
Love the unconventional writing style from the point of view of a ghost figuring out how she died in a curious and funny way. Loved that she was in love with the girl at the watch counter instead of with a boy. ( )
  Atsa | May 23, 2013 |
Hotel World is a fairly accessible non-traditional novel, deploying various techniques of modernist fiction without ever completely overwhelming the reader or collapsing into empty formalism. Its six distinct parts, with their six distinct literary voices, each offer a distinct take on the phenomenology of memory and experience. More than introducing us to their different protagonists, or to their different perspectives on the same situation, each part introduces us to a different way in which we engage with and make sense of the world around us.

However, I was never really gripped by the novel's actual story, and this lack of emotional connection ultimately kept the book from being something greater for me. I really like what Smith was up to in this novel -- I just wasn't ever all that swept away by how she did it. ( )
  williecostello | May 20, 2013 |
I had such high hopes for this book. I even bought it.


The story and construction of this book had so much potential. But I barely read the last 30 pages of the book because of the lack of punctuation. I hate stream of consciousness. I hate anything that resembles it. Which is why I refuse to read Virginia Woolf. And the content of those last 30 pages didn't grab me as they should have.

Those stinkin award winners have just been disappointing lately. I think these books just say they get awards just to sell more books, not because they're any good. ( )
  pam.enser | Apr 1, 2013 |
This is a book with five narrative voices, all in some way connected to a branch of Global Hotel where one of the chambermaids ended up in a freak accident on her second day, or people otherwise connected to her. At times stream-of-consciousness, at times not, Hotel World was an engaging and absorbing reading experience. ( )
  mari_reads | Mar 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ali Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The fall occurs at dawn. Albert Camus
Engery is eternal delight. William Blake
Remember you must die. Muriel Spark
Unfriendly, friendly universe, I pack your stars into my purse and bid you, bid you so farewell. THat I can leave you, quite go out, go out, go out beyond all doubt, my Father says, is the miracle. Edwin Muir
Dedication
to Daphne Wood for her generosity, Andrew & Sheena Smith for their kindness, Sarah Wood fo all the world
First words
Woooooooo-hooooooo what a fall what a soar what a plummet what a dash into dark into light what a plunge what a glide thud crash what a drop what a rush what a swoop what a fright what a mad hushed skirl what a smash mush mash-up broke and gashed what a heart in my mouth what an end.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385722109, Paperback)

Five disparate voices inhabit Ali Smith's dreamlike, mesmerizing Hotel World, set in the luxurious anonymity of the Global Hotel, in an unnamed northern English city. The disembodied yet interconnected characters include Sara, a 19-year-old chambermaid who has recently died at the hotel; her bereaved sister, Clare, who visits the scene of Sara's death; Penny, an advertising copywriter who is staying in the room opposite; Lise, the Global's depressed receptionist; and the homeless Else, who begs on the street outside. Smith's ambitious prose explores all facets of language and its uses. Sara takes us through the moment of her exit from the world and beyond; in her desperate, fading grip on words and senses she gropes to impart the meaning of her death in what she terms "the lift for dishes," then comes a flash of clarity: "That's the name for it, the name for it; that's it; dumb waiter dumb waiter dumb waiter."

Hotel World is not an easy read: disturbing and witty by turns, with stream-of-consciousness narrators reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's The Waves, its deceptively rambling language is underpinned by a formal construction. Exploring the "big themes" of love, death, and millennial capitalism, it takes as its starting point Muriel Spark's Memento Mori ("Remember you must die") and counteracts this axiom with a resolute "Remember you must live." Ali Smith's novel is a daring, compelling, and frankly spooky read. --Catherine Taylor, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The kind of novel that is as rare as good room service, Ali Smith's Hotel World is a passionate, funny, serious, captivating glimpse into the lives for five people connected to one ranch of the ubiquitous Global Hotel chain. Brought together - and forced apart - by a bizarre incident involving a dumb waiter, we share their very different experiences of life in the aftermath of death, of pain and sorrow, of hope and love - everything, in fact, that the world dares to throw at us.… (more)

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