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Hotels of North America by Rick Moody

Hotels of North America (edition 2015)

by Rick Moody (Author)

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1368127,150 (3.34)7
Title:Hotels of North America
Authors:Rick Moody (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2015), 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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Hotels of North America by Rick Moody


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I didn't like this book as much as I though I would. The premise seemed really clever, learning about a man's life through his reviews of hotels/motels he has stayed in. Unfortunately I did not like him and many of the reviews were not reviews, so it felt like the author was cheating a bit. There were some parts that were really funny, but I often found myself becoming impatient with this guy! It took about an hour to read, so no big time loss! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Awful book about some guy's story told through reviews. The concept of someone's life told through Yelp-like reviews intrigued me. When you think about it, sometimes reviews of something: restaurants, books, movies, etc. can tell the reader a lot about the reviewer's lives. So when the reviewer at the heart of Moody's book disappears, it sounded like an interesting idea to follow.
That said, it did not really work. Trying to tell a book through a bunch of reviews can be difficult. I read another book that was just a collection of reviews (if you remember the story of the woman who reviewed the first Olive Garden to come to her area and how that review went viral you'd know she got a book deal out of it) and did not tell a specific story. But those reviews eventually revealed the woman's life and how she used to bring friends, family, her husband (who passed away so other people began to appear in her reviews more) but that worked for what it was trying to do (it was just a collection of reviews).
This, however, does not. The book wasn't particularly readable as Morse does not come across as particularly interesting. The author tries where Morse and his paramour K. try to escape a hotel by claiming he's seriously ill (they are presented with a bill as they try to leave). But the story wasn't funny or charming and that set the tone for the rest of the book.
Based on other reviews it seems like the author had a seed of an idea but either tried to skate on his reputation or was perhaps rushed into it by the publisher. I'd skip this. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

So before anything else, I should mention that I've never read the two big early books that first made Rick Moody famous, 1992's Garden State and 1994's The Ice Storm, so have no basis for comparing his newer books to this one; but that said, I've been hugely disappointed by the handful of his books I've read since then, with this newest from 2015 being no exception. Ostensibly an epistolatory novel in which a motivational speaker's frequent Yelp-type online reviews of North American hotels can be added together to present a deep portrait of his life and loves, the actual manuscript published under this title doesn't even begin to hold up to the premise; even just the second and third reviews of the book are actually set in Europe, not North America, while the fifth writeup isn't a review of a hotel at all, but a story about the narrator sleeping in his car at an IKEA parking lot one night, and the narratives themselves don't even pretend to sound like actual reviews, instead being fully fleshed-out literary short stories that contain no mystery, symbolism, or epistolatory elements at all, the main reason I picked this up in the first place. This would be bad enough, but then when you add the fact that the narrator is an insufferably pretentious ass, who talks in the overblown purplish prose of a character from a Victorian novel, you're left with a book that wasn't even worth the time it took me to travel to my neighborhood library and check it out. Eventually I'll get around to reading those two widely admired early novels of his, just to see whether the hype about them is deserved; but this newest one is a real stinker, and is not recommended to a general audience.

Out of 10: 1.6 ( )
  jasonpettus | May 19, 2016 |
Couched in the form of a series of introspective and oblique reviews of disparate hotels and inns by the mysterious Reginald Edward Morse, suitably prefaced by the improbable director of a society of hoteliers and innkeepers, and with an afterword by none other than Rick Moody himself, Hotels of North America is a tour de force, a virtual Audubon of loneliness. Accompanied most frequently by his companion, K., who takes on the names of various birds as cover, Reginald records the thoughts that trouble him whilst staying in temporary lodgings. That these thoughts rarely have much to do with the actual establishments is hardly a criticism. Reginald’s fame, if Internet reviews constitute a substantive basis for fame, is due to his ruminations on his sad life, his failed marriage, his sexual fiascos, his occupation as an erstwhile motivational speaker (freelance), and his love for K. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes acting entirely inappropriately, Reginald exists through the two years in which he contributes his online reviews and then, apparently, disappears as though he had never been. All that we are left with — all that “Rick Moody” is left with having been asked to write the afterword — are the reviews themselves, as though a sequence of extended opinions, rants, and ruminations could constitute a man. A man, quite literally, of words.

It is a fascinating performance. Moody sustains the dim illusion with grace and pathos, showing real care for his creation even when Morse reveals himself to be largely unlikeable. The writing, which is naturally first-person and confessional, matches Morse’s character perfectly, with bathetic language and idiosyncratic points of interest. This is not a series of one-off comic turns. It is a deeply considered whole, so bleak in some respects as to be potentially tragic. And yet the archness of the performance, the all-too-obvious framing for apparent verisimilitude, demands that the reader look closer, or perhaps stand further back to see what is really being accomplished here. I’m still pondering that.

Highly recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Feb 28, 2016 |
Hotels of North America is very much a novel of our time—the time when people give more credence to the opinions of strangers on Yelp, Amazon, and Rotten Tomatoes—than to professional critics and reviewers. In this world that is constantly being reviewed online comes Reginald Edward Morse, or R.E. Morse, one of the top reviewers at RateYourLodging.com.

The book opens with a preface by Greenway Davies of a national association of hoteliers and ends with an afterword by the author, Rick Moody, creating the conceit that this is a collection of online hotel reviews submitted by Morse from January 2012 to March 2014. The hotel reviews are from different dates – going far back into the past, a nonlinear exploration of the hotels (and parking lots) at key moments in time, or more accurately, moments of intense emotion.

It is a sad story of a sad, lonely man filled with regret, remorse, even. There is a chapter on missing his daughter that wrecks the heart. Morse is acquainted with despair and loneliness, but there is something plucky about him, too, this man making a career out of motivational speaking when he is not very successful himself. He just keeps trying and sometimes finding delight and certainly finding a collaborator that suits him, the mysterious K. with whom he adulterates his marriage. Morse is down on his luck, a failure at high finance and yet he keeps plugging along, traveling all over, staying in so many hotels, some even more down on their luck than Morse.

Read the rest on my web site: https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/hotels-of-north-america-by-rick-moody/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Jan 27, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316178551, Hardcover)

From the acclaimed Rick Moody, a darkly comic portrait of a man who comes to life in the most unexpected of ways: through his online reviews.

Reginald Edward Morse is one of the top reviewers on RateYourLodging.com, where his many reviews reveal more than just details of hotels around the globe--they tell his life story.

The puzzle of Reginald's life comes together through reviews that comment upon his motivational speaking career, the dissolution of his marriage, the separation from his beloved daughter, and his devotion to an amour known only as "K." But when Reginald disappears, we are left with the fragments of a life--or at least the life he has carefully constructed--which writer Rick Moody must make sense of.

An inventive blurring of the lines between the real and the fabricated, Hotels of North America demonstrates Moody's mastery ability to push the bounds of the novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 05 Oct 2015 17:32:23 -0400)

"Reginald Edward Morse is one of the top reviewers on RateYourLodging.com, where his many posts do more than just evaluate hotels around the globe--they tell his life story ... The puzzle of Reginald's life comes together through writings that comment upon his motivational-speaking career, the dissolution of his marriage, the separation from his daughter, his struggles with alcohol, and his devotion to a paramour known only as 'K.' But when Reginald disappears, we are left with the fragments of a life--or at least the life he has carefully constructed--which writer Rick Moody must decipher. Are these the crazed ramblings of a nomadic eccentric? Or are they an essential document of our times and a treatise on what it means to be alone?"--Jacket.… (more)

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