gretchen slack, September 23, 2011 (view all comments by gretchen slack)
This book is a jumble of lyrical prose. Set through the experiences of five people surrounding one hotel, and one experience, this book sets a path through the minds of different people all set on explaining the world for themselves, if not for anyone else. Indistinctly related, the information given to the reader about these people is hazy and their backgrounds are messy and muddled. It is their thought process, feelings, immediate experiences that we as the reader have access to. Stream of consciousness writing explores the use of language and how it sounds and how it muddles together. Not an easy read, but a worthwhile one.
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Coni, January 30, 2007 (view all comments by Coni)
Five women?s lives become interconnected in a hotel somewhere in England. One of the women just happens to be a ghost of a women who died in the hotel?s dumb waiter. It is written in a stream-of-consciousness style that takes some getting used to, but if you can get past that, you can enjoy it since it is just like you would think if you wrote down your own thoughts.
The book is dumb and boring. It starts off great though. The first chapter is the ghost of the girl that just died in the dumb waiter. Her memory is fading along with her senses. She is forgetting what it is like to taste and smell as those go away. She is trying to remember who she is and how she died and why. It was very interesting and the book should have stuck with that.
Then the next chapter talks about a homeless girl that sits right outside the hotel everyday. It barely goes into who she is before the next chapter which is slightly more interesting about a girl that works at the front counter of the hotel. The stories start interconnecting there and I had more hope for the book.
The fourth chapter was okay and more of the characters start talking to each other. It was about a hotel guest but then it starts veering off somewhere not interesting.
The fifth chapter is the sister of the dead girl and the entire chapter is all one sentence. Page and pages of a big run-on with & symbols separating the thoughts?kinda. It is so hard to follow and when I was following it, it wasn?t interesting. I thought maybe the last chapter would bring it all together. I had already lost interest.
It was lame last chapter that didn?t talk about any of the characters anymore, but a bunch of stuff about people being connected to one another and blah blah blah.
I don?t recommend this book. It starts off great and then goes pbbbbbbbbt.
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by Charles Taylor, Salon.com,
"Smith is so deft with language that it's easy, at first, to mistake Hotel World for an exercise in style....the type of writing that can give a reader the notion that the book's chief pleasure will be on the level of literary word games. But Smith's is not a surface talent....All the book's living and dead come together in Smith's magnificent coda, a benediction and a release so vivid it can make you feel as if the spirits were rising off the page to fill the air around you. Smith may be a tricky writer, but her summoning powers are no stunt." (read the entire Salon review)
"Playful, intelligent writing, but with feeling too."
by The Independent (London),
"Hotel World is everything a novel should be: disturbing, comforting, funny, challenging, sad, rude, beautiful."
by The Times (London),
"In this voice from beyond the grave Ali Smith has created the perfect literary ghost...imbued with a powerful sense of wonder at the minutiae of everyday sensuality...and her beautiful, vivid descriptions are reinforced by a sharp, unsentimental tongue."
by Chris Lehmann, Washington Post Book World,
"To her considerable credit as a writer, Smith manages to have her characters approach these grim subjects in moods of humor and unselfconscious bumbling, which makes Hotel World a greatly appealing read."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A prizewinner back home, Scotland-born Smith offers a verbally high-speed tale of a girl's death that may touch some but will seem mainly airy to others....The pieces do finally come together, yet all remains oddly mechanical....One feels as though Smith were taking as long as possible on as little as possible to make things seem as important as possible....Long riffs on a theme, presented like a puzzle."
by Lisa Nussbaum, Library Journal,
"A heartfelt and introspective ghost story, Hotel World begins at the end and works backward and then meanders some in between....[The] characters come together in a tender, moving story of innocence, love, and kindness....Smith's beautiful, unpretentious writing mesmerizes. Highly recommended."
by Publishers Weekly,
"Smith expertly fuses humor and pathos throughout the novel....Smith's narrative style varies with each character and is generally exciting and quite successful, although some readers will find the acrobatics tiring. The connections she makes between the characters across class lines and even across the line between life and death are driven home in a beautifully lyrical coda."
by Giles Foden, The Guardian (UK),
"Packed full of literary allusions and cunning devices....I have never seen the tenets of recent literary theory so cleverly insinuated into a novel....In the case of Smith and other, mainly American writers (Dave Eggers, Mark (House of Leaves) Danielewski, and Jonathan Lethem), books are being produced that seem specifically designed to be read by a generation brought up on theory."
by Jeanette Winterson, author of Written On the Body,
"Ali Smith has got style, ideas, and punch. Read her."
Five people: four are living; three are strangers; two are sisters; one, a teenage hotel chambermaid, has fallen to her death in a dumbwaiter. But her spirit lingers in the world, straining to recall things she never knew. And one night all five women find themselves in the smooth plush environs of the Global Hotel, where the intersection of their very different fates make for this playful, defiant, and richly inventive novel.
Forget room service: this is a riotous elegy, a deadpan celebration of colliding worlds, and a spirited defense of love. Blending incisive wit with surprising compassion, Hotel World is a wonderfully invigorating, life-affirming book.
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