The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel

eBook - 2020
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A New York Times "20 Books We're Watching For in 2020" An Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Bustle, Buzzfeed, GoodReads, The Millions, Boston Globe, USA Today, and Women's Day Most Anticipated Book From the award-winning author of Station Eleven ("Ingenious." - The New York Times) , an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events-a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea. Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star hotel on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby's glass wall: "Why don't you swallow broken glass." Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for Neptune-Avradimis, reads the words and orders a drink to calm down. Alkaitis, the owner of the hotel and a wealthy investment manager, arrives too late to read the threat, never knowing it was intended for him. He leaves Vincent a hundred dollar tip along with his business card, and a year later they are living together as husband and wife. High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients' accounts. He holds the life savings of an artist named Olivia Collins, the fortunes of a Saudi prince and his extended family, and countless retirement funds, including Leon Prevant's. The collapse of the financial empire is as swift as it is devastating, obliterating fortunes and lives, while Vincent walks away into the night. Until, years later, she steps aboard a Neptune-Avramidis vessel, the Neptune Cumberland, and disappears from the ship between ports of call. In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2020
ISBN: 9780525521150
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Sep 10, 2020

Everyone is right, The Glass Hotel does not reach Station Eleven levels of adoration. That being said, Mandel is a wonderful writer, who draws me in and makes me empathize for each character in their own way. I did care about some characters more than others, and was sometimes frustrated when the story switched tracks to a different thread, but her ability to weave the threads together is still magical. So, yes, if you're going into this book expecting a repeat of Station Eleven - reel your expectations in a little. The book is absolutely still worth your time.

JessicaGma Aug 18, 2020

I mean it was okay, but it was not up to the level of Station Eleven, even with the interwoven stories and characters. I think the one dude who made out the best was the caretaker - not much happened otherwise. Not one of my picks for 2020, that is for certain.

Aug 03, 2020

Great book. I love how the author weaves not only the story threads into the tale but also how the characters are woven into it. They pop up here and there throughout. Maybe not quite as good as Station Eleven, but still good.

Jul 28, 2020

After her wonderful 2014 novel, Station Eleven, The Glass Hotel is a lacklustre disappointment. Mandel employs the same narrative style with a multitude of characters and a frequent moving back and forth in time and place. Unfortunately, some of the characters are quite dull and not fully fleshed out. Vincent - a female, by the way - the linchpin of the novel is particularly flat, with her motivations remaining obscure throughout. The story is built around a Ponzi scheme, a la Bernie Madoff. And while that part of the novel has some meat to it, it is overall an unrewarding story.

Jul 20, 2020

Very good!

Jul 19, 2020

So what is The Glass Hotel really about? Perhaps it’s a metaphor for life. We are transient occupants of a fragile existence. The glass hotel is momentary: one can change rooms so suddenly, upgraded to a suite, downgraded to a fleabag, or worse. Rich to poor. Employed to itinerant. Free to imprisoned. Alive, then dead. “Why don’t you swallow broken glass?” says the upsetting message etched in glass. It’s an invocation to shatter a life, the downfall exploding in shards that nick, lacerate, or break the characters. But the glass hotel can also be resilient. “Sweep me up!”

Jul 13, 2020

<Spoiler Alert>
This is not a particularly memorable story despite the reviews above and being on the BBC's top twenty novels of the first half of 2020. St. John Mandel's breakthrough 2014 novel, Station Eleven, was a good read but not an exceptional one. She may be in danger of trading in part on her reputation. With so many excellent novels being published these days we hope for a better standard from our young Canadian authors. Something to justify our high hopes, to get us off our seats and raving to our friends about a story, a writer, a book for our times.
The Glass Hotel's characters are very well drawn and the writing is sound. There is a gentle, background resonance of the sea, ships, glass, petty vandalism and service industry roles. So what's missing? There is drama but it fails to engage. As we near the end of the book we wait for something (anything!) to happen to make sense of all that preceded. But it slowly becomes clear we are not to receive that saving grace and the book ends a disappointment. 
At times St. John Mandel seems unable to decide which theme is central. Is it a ghost story? A moral tale about the effects of theft on the perpetrators and victims? A life story of two Canadian siblings born in the near wilderness? A reflection on how destitute and desperate the wealthy can suddenly become?
Perhaps the story has been exhausted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, particularly in film. Wall Street did it cleverly in two parts. Woody Allen's Blue Velvet brilliantly captured life before and after the collapse of a dubious investment scheme. Wolf of Wall Street did it even more colourfully. We yearn at least for a new angle because the particular shadow these movies portrayed has mostly passed and we now witness the commission of even greater crimes. 

Jul 12, 2020

Certainly interesting, but did not live up to Station Eleven.

Jun 26, 2020

This "Bernie Madoff" book about a Ponzi scheme and its effect upon various people was frankly boring to me. If an author cannot induce me to care about at least one of the main character, then they have failed me. Paul commits manslaughter, steals and takes heroin - he is completely without redeeming qualities and not surprisingly completely self absorbed. Vincent has the greatest potential to be "liked" as a character, but she sells herself to a crook. There simply was not enough character development. Oh, then there is a "ghost" to draw in a certain group of readers. The organization of the book was chaotic. The only person I cared about at all was Walter who became the caretaker of the abandoned hotel, but he was such a minor character that he could not redeem the book. Not worth the hype. Kristi & Abby Tabby

teleskier Jun 08, 2020

Inspired by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the book tells the story of two siblings on a remote Canadian island and the cast of characters interweaved in their lives. Original and well-written, it would make a perfect book club book: spare and memorable characters, a unique backdrop and events drawn from real-life.

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