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The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel

27/60 | Started 05.23.23 • Finished 05.28.23 | 4 stars

I've been holding out for this one for a while now and am so glad it finally came in. The story follows a character named Vincent as she ages through high school and into middle-life. Though she has a troubled start, she finds her way into a lot of money and a major change in lifestyle.

She tried them on and bought them without looking at the price tag, because in the age of money her credit card was a magical, weightless thing.

Having loved Mandel's Station Eleven for its character development, overall storyline, and thoughtful prose, I was excited to dive into this one. It did not disappoint. The majority western Canadian setting got me hooked (big fan of BC right here) and then the characters grew deeply as the intricate story unfolded. Personally, I'd call it a slow burn. It starts out very oddly but then jumps into the narrative and progresses fairly normally. It's only at the end that the reader can understand the beginning.

It’s always possible to fail to know the people closest to us.

I didn't find the writing quite as good as Station Eleven but there were still plenty of gems. I appreciated the way she wove art of all kinds into the story - painting, music, and video. It's too bad the island is fictional because you can bet I would figure out a way to visit! I did find out that it's based on a real place called Quatsino, but that the hotel itself does not exist. Anyway, I can't say too much about the book without giving it away, so the ambiguity will just have to do. Vincent has a difficult life, and unfortunately it doesn't end with much hope for anyone really. In that way, I'd say it's a somewhat dark read, but compelling nonetheless.

There is exquisite lightness in waking each morning with the knowledge that the worst has already happened.

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