Hotel World by Ali Smith is a highly inventive, fun and moving novel. Another Booker Prize Finalist, it ultimately is a testament of love and life. My husband tried to read this before I did and he put it done after one try. I'm not surprised. For the average reader the experimentation and long wayward descriptions can be a bit much, but for the reader who enjoys something different, boy was it fun to read!
Hotel World is about five people, one who is dead. It is about the lives of these people, about loss, love and pain. It is a funny book that reads almost like a farce as the characters are exaggerated and humorous at times. Somehow they don't seem real, but this doesn't bother you, it makes you more interested in them. And when they feel the least real to you, suddenly they do something so painfully human that they become sharply real. The play with words and with the characters is done masterfully by Smith, without making a mockery of them or going too far. In the most unexpected moments, when the characters become sharply real and human, you feel their emotion, usually pain, and it is so real and valid that you feel it stronger possibly because of the unexpectedness of it.
But it is also an odd book, with an odd plot. It has humorous scenes and characters who are quirky. A ghost who wants to know how long it took for her to fall to her death, a sister who finds out for her, a hotel clerk who gets an odd illness and it goes on with the characters.
A highly imaginative book that doesn't fail to touch your heart, a book that is fun and moving to read, I enjoyed Ali Smith's Hotel World and can't wait to read more of her, in particular The Accidental which has its own crazy plot as well.
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