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The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
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The Hotel New Hampshire (1981)

by John Irving

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,71953742 (3.87)2 / 105
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English (46)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Just couldn't get into this.
  ritaer | Jun 28, 2014 |
John Irving gives us the history of the Berry family through their tragedies, triumphs, more tragedies and triumphs. Sex, death, rape, incest, suicide, terrorism, prostitution, dwarfs, etc. Three hotels, two bears (one real, one friend), five dogs and endless characters that enter their lives and leave. Irving makes everyone, including the bears and the smallest characters deeply understood and developed. Each character has something to offer you, good and/or bad. Almost every character has an amusing side, a strength and many faults. We learn that everyone is a hero in some way, even the people you'd least expect to be strong, find a place to be strong. Then there are some who we see as so strong but learn sadly they were very weak. Funny, sad, thought provoking, the book really has it all. Keep walking past the open windows and remember that sorrow floats. ( )
  rayski | Jan 11, 2014 |
I'm just not sure what to make of this book. John Irving is one of my favorite authors. His ability to craft interesting and believable characters is one of his strongest talents, and in that regard, this book is no disappointment. Even the setting is intriguing: who hasn't wanted to live in a hotel at some point in their lives?

Perhaps the thing I found most unsettling about the story was how casually the subject matter is treated. Death, sex, and more death: it's all treated in a nearly off-hand fashion. On the final page, I feel pleased that the main character has ended up in the situation he's in, but I feel like he's exactly the same person he was when he started. The use of the dog, Sorrow, as a running metaphor throughout the tale was interesting but felt forced. I just didn't come away from this novel with the same sense of satisfaction that I've found in his other works. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
"So we dream on. Thus we invent our lives. We give ourselves a sainted mother, we make our father a hero; and someone's older brother, and someone's older sister - they become our heroes, too. We invent what we love, and what we fear. There is always a brave, lost brother - and a little lost sister, too. We dream on and on; the best hotel, the perfect family, the resort life. And our dreams escape us almost as vividly as we can imagine them."

I have started writing this review four, five times? I can't remember anymore. Each time, I get a few lines into it, and realize I'm falling terribly short of what I really want to say. This novel broke my heart. It is beautiful and lyrical and warm and funny and it broke my fucking heart, with each and every paragraph, every word. That's really all I can say about it. Read it.

"You have to keep passing the open windows."
  davebessom | Apr 5, 2013 |
john irving and tom robbins - how do these guys come up with this stuff?? a lot of interesting stuff (and bizarre stuff) going on, plenty to think about. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Like a fairy tale - and Irving reminds us with tireless zeal that his novel is a fairy tale -''The Hotel New Hampshire'' is both fanciful and cruel. The Berry family is oddly susceptible to disaster; suicides, airplane crashes, blindings by terrorist bombs abound. Nor is this feisty crew beyond wreaking havoc among themselves. ''To each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread, we were just a family,'' observes the narrator (named John, in the autobiographical fashion of the day); but sibling incest is a dominant motif, and their incessant colloquys are conducted in a language heavy with insult and innuendo.
 
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Dedication
For my wife Shyla,

whose love provided

the light

and the space

for five novels
First words
The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born - we weren't even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny, the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lilly and Egg.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034541795X, Paperback)

“The first of my father’s illusions was that bears could survive the life lived by human beings, and the second was that human beings could survive a life led in hotels.” So says John Berry, son of a hapless dreamer, brother to a cadre of eccentric siblings, and chronicler of the lives lived, the loves experienced, the deaths met, and the myriad strange and wonderful times encountered by the family Berry. Hoteliers, pet-bear owners, friends of Freud (the animal trainer and vaudevillian, that is), and playthings of mad fate, they “dream on” in a funny, sad, outrageous, and moving novel by the remarkable author of A Prayer for Owen Meany and Last Night in Twisted River.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel narrated by the middle son in a family of five children, one bear, and one dog. Describes the Berry family growing up in three different hotels on two separate continents.

» see all 4 descriptions

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