Monday, June 27, 2011

Hotel World by Ali Smith

There are five characters, two relatives, three strangers, but all female. There is a homeless woman, a hotel receptionist, a hotel critic, the ghost of a hotel chambermaid, and the ghost’s sister. These women tell a story. And it is through this story that unbeknown to them their lives and fate intersect, the catalyst to their story: the Global Hotel.

The author divides the book into six sections:
  1. The first section, “Past” tells the story of Sara Wilby
  2. The second part, "Present Historic", is about a homeless girl begging for money outside the Hotel.
  3. The “Future Conditional”, the third section of the novel, Lise.
  4. The fourth part is “Perfect” with its far from perfect character Penny.
  5. The fifth section of the novel titled “Future in the Past,” is entirely Clare’s memories on the life and death of her sister Sara.
  6. “Present” is the title of the last part of the novel.
This book was a finalist, as you can see, for the Man Booker Prize. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. All-in-all, this award means nothing to me, as an American. But, Jolly Good for the author!

I enjoyed this book. The writing style is quite different from the other books I've read lately. As a matter of fact, I found each section to be unique in style, perspective and voice. That's what made this book a winner for me. However, it is not for everyone. You have to think a little on this one, so it's not quite a beach read. I would recommend it, though, if you want to get a little something in between your teeth between beach drinks.

The book satisfied the Summer Reading Challenge Mini Challenge #2 requirement for a book whose author's first or last name begins with the letter "S".


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