When I go on holiday with my daughter these days, we usually try to find apartments as we disturb each other just too much sharing a room! But, of course, many of my holidays in the past, and probably in future too, will involve staying in a hotel. Many a novel features characters staying in a hotel – here’s a selection from my blog archives with links to the original posts:
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt
This novel is set in 1943 during the last days of scientist Nikola Tesla’s life when he was living in a hotel in New York, alone and broke with only pigeons for friends. Louisa is the chambermaid who befriends him, and he becomes a bit of a father substitute.
I said ‘this novel snaps, crackles and pops with electricity’. One I’d like to re-read one day, as I do have a bit of a thing about Tesla.
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The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah
Hannah’s third Culver Valley crime novel features a hotel as venue for an affair. Motherhood is getting on top of Sally, and when a business trip falls through, she goes to a spa instead – where she meets a man and they have a brief affair. Back home the news is full of a gruesome double death – presumed suicide of a mother and daughter. Their names are familiar – they’re the family of the man she had an affair with – but the man on the TV is not Mark Bretherick! Cue typical Hannah twists and turns aplenty in this dark and devilishly ingenious psychothriller.
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Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge
Another affair that comes to a head in hotels is depicted in Bainbridge’s novel of a holiday of adulterous intent. Douglas tells his wife he’s going fishing when he’s off to Moscow with artist Nina on a cultural trip. From their arrival at the hotel, things don’t go to plan for Douglas…
Bainbridge has some fun with Communist Russia in this novel which entertains, although the ending is rather blunt.
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Third Reich by Roberto Bolano
I only read this novel recently for Spanish Literature month. It’s the story of a holiday on the Costa Brava for German War Games champion Udo and his girlfriend Ingeborg. They are returning to a hotel Udo stayed in as a child, late in the season. Ingeborg manages to make them some new friends, but Udo doesn’t like them – he still has a crush on the hotel manageress. Udo also needs to finish a war-gaming essay, and ends up teaching the disfigured pedalo hire guy on the beach how to war game. An odd novel that left me undecided about Bolano (still).
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Hotel Arcadia by Sunny Singh
And finally, one of my favourite books from last year which I reviewed for Shiny. This is a literary thriller that becomes a two-hander between a hotel manager and a war photographer staying there when a terrorist group storms the hotel and starts murdering people.
Abhi and Sam are two of the best-written characters I’ve read and everything about this novel was convincing. It was totally gripping and very touching.
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So those are five picks from my blog archive featuring hotels.
Do tell me some of your good hotel reads…
4 thoughts on “From the archives: Hotels”
Just finished Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum which is excellent! :))
I’ve seen that book mentioned a lot lately – Must take a look at it.
I’ve been beaten to it on Grand Hotel, I see! How about The Hotel New Hampshire, two for the price of one.
Gosh, it’s so long since I read that book – I can’t remember it at all really. There’s a bear I think – and at that my memory fails me.