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The Glass Hotel: A novel by Emily St. John…
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The Glass Hotel: A novel (edition 2021)

by Emily St. John Mandel (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,7601247,607 (3.85)129
"[A] novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it"--
Member:summerloud
Title:The Glass Hotel: A novel
Authors:Emily St. John Mandel (Author)
Info:Vintage (2021), 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work Information

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Recently added byFeathered-Friend, robinghood, Appi, private library, lparadise, ennuiprayer, archivistorian
  1. 30
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (JenMDB)
  2. 10
    A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (JenMDB)
  3. 00
    The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (sparemethecensor)
  4. 00
    The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: Like The Glass Hotel, the Deptford Trilogy cleverly weaves together the threads of the story.
  5. 11
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar structure. Ms. Mantel mentions the book herself as one she admired
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» See also 129 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
This was a compelling read and I enjoyed most of it but some bits frustrated me immensely so hence the 3 stars. ( )
  KimZoot | Jan 2, 2022 |
Hmm, not what I was expecting. Not anything, really. I love character-driven stories but this seemed to promise a plot and then decided not to bother. Paul, a teenage drug addict with a death on his conscience, and his quirkily named sister Vincent (if I was going to name a baby after Edna St Vincent Millay, I wouldn't opt for Vincent) are drawn into a life of deceit while working at the titular hotel, which I would actually have preferred to read more about. Vincent moves in with a wealthy conman who is heading the mother of all Ponzi schemes (based on Bernie Madoff, who I admit I had to Google) and Paul sets a subplot at the hotel in motion by imitating his sister's youthful act of rebellion. The story flips back and forward in time, foreshadowing and explaining but never really building up to anything.

I liked Vincent, although she reminded me of the title character in Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow, all stunning beauty, hard edges and sea-faring propensities. She's quirky but also opportunistic and yet everybody loves her. Paul is a loser who disappears after the first few chapters only to resurface at the end. The rest of the book is about the Bernie Madoff character and the epic financial disaster he causes, which was both interesting and interminable. His hallucinations of guilt were all that kept me reading.

I think I'll have to join the ranks of the 'It's not Station Eleven' disappointed readers with this one. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Dec 16, 2021 |
i had a conversation with a colleague the other day about disliking good art. he said, how can something be good, but you don't like it? i said, well, in the same way you can enjoy a bad movie, for example. this book is very, very good, but i don't know that i particularly enjoyed it. i think it's very clever - the plot is smart and carries high reread value - but cleverness doesn't always resolve itself to something compelling or involving. paradoxically, the language was breezy & easy to read (& stunningly beautiful at times) but i also feel that for such a short book this was also quite heavy. not dense - the sections are short and the narrative pace is fast - and not thematically weighty. just - there were a lot of characters, a lot of jumping around, it just felt like wading through molasses after a while. the way the nonlinearity was handled didn't entirely work for me, creating a kind of overarching narrative that left individual sections feeling hollow and lacking emotional connection. strange kind of contradiction of a book.

**SPOILERS** also i think a couple of narrative choices soured this book for me. (1) vincent was Beautiful. god help me but i am so fucking sick of stories about beautiful women, beloved by all. i know there's a lot of very smart commentary here about how status allows you to move through different countries; what i felt was lacking is more disassembling of how vincent's beauty is what allows her access to the country of the rich. most beautiful, rich people are in my experience excruciatingly boring people. i wanted more tension around it. instead it was straightforward; vincent is Beautiful, and because she's Beautiful, everybody is drawn to her. okay, say something new? (2) i do not know how i felt about the weirdly mystical aspects of the narrative. is magic real in this version of our world? is it not? sorry, i'm not a patient person, i can't deal with insinuation. the fact that it was only present in a few aspects of the story - as sort of a magically-realistic extension of the coincidence that pervaded the everyday, which was one facet of this that i loved btw - made it feel oddly spiritual and sentimental in a way that unsettled me. i don't know. like i said, a very well-written book. i think i'm just too much of an asshole for this particular angle on a story which was otherwise very intriguing to me. ( )
1 vote i. | Dec 11, 2021 |
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It looked interesting at the bookstore, but I guess overall I was just lukewarm on the book as a whole. The writing wasn't bad, it just didn't grab my attention like I would have wanted it to. Still made for an ok bath read. ( )
  jovemako | Nov 18, 2021 |
Perfectly fine narrative I guess, but I couldn't relate with it, and it feels like it's trying too hard to be cool. ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
It’s a beguiling conceit: the global financial crisis as a ghost story. As one of Alkaitis’s employees reflects of a swindled investor: “It wasn’t that she was about to lose everything, it was that she had already lost everything and just didn’t know it yet.” But Mandel’s abiding literary fascination is even more elemental: isn’t every moment – coiled with possibilities – its own ghost story? Isn’t every life a counterlife?... All contemporary novels are now pre-pandemic novels – Covid-19 has scored a line across our culture – but what Mandel captures is the last blissful gasp of complacency, a knowing portrait of the end of unknowing. It’s the world we inhabited mere weeks ago, and it still feels so tantalisingly close; our ache for it still too raw to be described as nostalgia. “Do you find yourself sort of secretly hoping that civilisation collapses ... Just so that something will happen?” a friend asks Vincent. Oh, for the freedom of that kind of reckless yearning.
 
The Glass Hotel isn't dystopian fiction; rather it's "straight" literary fiction, gorgeous and haunting, about the porous boundaries between past and present, the rich and the poor, and the realms of the living and the dead.... This all-encompassing awareness of the mutability of life grows more pronounced as The Glass Hotel reaches its eerie sea change of an ending. In dramatizing so ingeniously how precarious and changeable everything is, Mandel's novel is topical in a way she couldn't have foreseen when she was writing it.
added by Lemeritus | editNPR, Maureen Corrigan (Mar 30, 2020)
 
The question of what people keep when they lose everything clearly intrigues Mandel.... By some miracle, although it’s hard to determine what it’s about, The Glass Hotel is never dull. The pleasure, which in the case of The Glass Hotel is abundant, lies in the patterns themselves, not in anything they mean. This novel invites you to inhabit it without striving or urging; it’s a place to be, always fiction’s most welcome effect.
added by Lemeritus | editSlate, Laura Miller (Mar 24, 2020)
 
Mandel is a consummate, almost profligate world builder. One superbly developed setting gives way to the next, as her attention winds from character to character, resting long enough to explore the peculiar mechanics of each life before slipping over to the next.... The disappointment of leaving one story is immediately quelled by our fascination in the next.....what binds the novel is its focus on the human capacity for self-delusion, particularly with regards to our own innocence. Rare, fortunately, is the moral idiot who can boast, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” The complex, troubled people who inhabit Mandel’s novel are vexed and haunted by their failings, driven to create ever more pleasant reflections of themselves in the glass.
added by Lemeritus | editThe Washington Post, Ron Charles (pay site) (Mar 23, 2020)
 
This latest novel from the author of the hugely successful Station Eleven forgoes a postapocalyptic vision for something far scarier—the bottomless insecurity of contemporary life.... Highly recommended; with superb writing and an intricately connected plot that ticks along like clockwork, Mandel offers an unnerving critique of the twinned modern plagues of income inequality and cynical opportunism. [
added by Lemeritus | editLibrary Journal, Reba Leiding (pay site) (Feb 1, 2020)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mandel, Emily St. Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robben, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weintraub, AbbyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Cassia and Kevin
First words
Begin at the end: plummeting down the side of the ship in the storm's wild darkness, breath gone with the shock of falling, my camera flying away through the rain --
Quotations
Painting was something that had grabbed hold of her for a while, decades, but now it had let go and she had no further interest in it, or it had no further interest in her. All things end, she’d told herself, there was always going to be a last painting, but if she wasn’t a painter, what was she? It was a troubling question.
There is exquisite lightness in waking each morning with the knowledge that the worst has already happened.
It turned out that never having that conversation with Vincent meant that he was somehow condemned to always have that conversation with Vincent.
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"[A] novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it"--

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Book description
Haiku summary
Ile de Vancouver
Elle y est barmaid, séduit
"Madoff", puis la chute
(Tiercelin)

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Emily St. John Mandel is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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