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Hotel World (original 2001; edition 2002)
by Ali Smith
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)
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.
(summary from another edition)
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