March 31st, 2020

Me 2

The Glass Hotel

The Glass HotelThe Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I became aware of Emily St. John Mandel via her previous novel, the science fiction book "Station Eleven." I loved that book and when I heard she had a new one out I had to try it. I'm glad I did.

The author grew up on a small island just offshore of Vancouver Island, Canada. This novel opens in a hotel set in rural Vancouver Island with somebody writing "Why don't you swallow broken glass" on a window with acid. This seemingly random act of petty vandalism ties the entire book together. And the book is pretty epic, allowing us to follow five characters over several decades and much of the world.

Like her previous work, Station Eleven, this novel jumps around in time and place. Unlike that work, it's not science fiction, instead based on the real-life Ponzi scheme ran by Bernie Madoff. It features both the architect of the scheme, Jonathan Alkaitis, his victims and a female bartender named Vincent. (She's local to the hotel). Mandel jumps around, but ties all these people and the window incident together in an interesting and compelling manner. I highly recommend it.

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