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  • Mandy McHugh

The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel: A Review

I read Station Eleven when it first came out, and I'd never read anything else like it before. Mandel does an amazing job of weaving timelines seamlessly. In and out of the past, multiple POVs, this is not an easy structure to accomplish, and could very easily go wrong, but somehow, her pieces come together in a puzzle masterpiece. This is also true of The Glass Hotel.

Paul's life is a blur of drugs and bad decisions until one night he's given a choice. Vincent never cared for school, but she can make a hell of a cocktail and is swept off her feet in an arrangement with a rich but deceitful older man. A ponzi scheme and the fallout. A mysterious disappearance from a boat. Reading The Glass Hotel is an experience. A large part of this reminded me of The Great Gatsby. Vincent's discussions with the other wives of wealthy men, the lavish and rich lifestyle where you don't have to look at price tags and days are consumed with routines comprised of little of importance, all very Gatsby. Because of this, there's an air of disassociation with this POV, as if we're floating along with her instead of reading her flow of consciousness. This separation allows for the reader to slip between past and present, and while this didn't play out like I thought it would with the ghosts based on the blurb, I still enjoyed the way events unfolded. If you're a fan of jumpy narratives, this is going to be the book for you. Not my cup of tea for everyday reading, but The Glass Hotel is worth your time.


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