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Hotel World by Ali Smith

Hotel World (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Ali Smith (Author)

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950299,142 (3.47)86
Title:Hotel World
Authors:Ali Smith (Author)
Info:Anchor / Random House (2001)
Collections:Your library

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Hotel World by Ali Smith (2001)


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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I honestly have no idea why I chose to read this book. It was described as "experimental" - simply another word for "pretentious," I thought - and I really do not care for stream of consciousness. Or so I thought, before I found myself swept up into Hotel World.

If the first chapter were a painting, it would be one of those swirly Impressionist things. The narrator is the ghost of Sara Whilby, a teenage chambermaid who died in a bizarre accident. She longs for any sort of sensation, even a stone in a shoe, and finds herself forgetting simple words like "toast." Most memorably, she has a conversation with her decomposing body about her death. While I thought the beginning was perfect, I was gradually less interested in the chapters that followed. The thread connecting the five women is a little too delicate at times, and I was not really gripped again until I read the grief-stricken soliloquy from Clara, Sara's younger sister.

While I liked Hotel World, I know for sure not everybody will. This is the kind of book where the most important event has already occurred, so if you keep reading in the hope that something major will happen, you are going to be disappointed. Ali Smith is also a very playful writer, so if you like, say, punctuation marks, this book will drive you nuts. But I am very happy that I stepped outside my reading comfort zone for once! ( )
1 vote doryfish | Aug 15, 2016 |
This book was a refreshing change of pace from the others I've read recently. The writing style is fragmented, challenging, stream-of-conscienceness, moment-in-time, random, specific... Words and words and words, sometimes making sentences, sometimes pages with no punctuation. I loved the view points, the differences in their dialogue with me, the reader, and their perspective. This was a very different and satisfying book. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
Brilliant! But also a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. The cheery pink artwork and generic blurb about a "freak incident involving a dumb waiter" left me totally unprepared for the sorrow, isolation, and poignancy of the story within. The author utilizes an unusual narrative structure to describe her characters so vividly that I really felt for everyone involved in the story. Highly recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | Nov 10, 2015 |
gave a talk with her in Wales, reviewed my book
  susanaberth | Sep 25, 2015 |
Hotel World started out strong and then petered out. By the time I had gotten to the long run-on sentence chapter done by Clair I had lost interest in the book. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ali Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -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)

(summary from another edition)

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