Book Review: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Title: The Glass Hotel
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
ISBN: 9781443455732

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.


Although I can’t say that I enjoyed The Glass Hotel as much as Emily St. John Mandel’s first work, Station Eleven, I was still swept up by this novel of love, loss, romance, betrayal, and violence. Told from varying perspectives, The Glass Hotel, gives the reading a convoluted view of the demise lf financier, Jonathan Alkaitis. As the centre of this story is the mysterious Vincent who seems to move unmoored from place to place, making connections and finding a place for herself at the whim of her desires.

There is a lot to digest in this book–a lot of people and a lot of places. There is much movement and many different points of view brought together. There’s an undercurrent of mystery running throughout and there is an air of something dark at work. A few of the characters are struggling with drug issues, or are affected by the loss of someone to drugs. Vincent and her brother Paul come from broken homes and though they have been thrown together, they’ve never been able to form the close sibling relationship that may have changed their lives. They are forever divided.

One thing I love about Mandel’s writing is that she builds gorgeously written and evocative worlds. Her settings are so vivid and realistic, it’s easy to find yourself transported into the heart of her stories. Though there is a lot happening in The Glass Hotel, each and every setting sucks you right it and is so easy to conjure up in your mind’s eye. With such strong settings, it is easy for the characters to move from place to place, inhabiting the same spaces, but it vastly different ways. They each respond to and take something different from the world around them, and Mandel does an excellent job of painting these pictures.

It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but it’s still an excellent novel. I’m very glad for the opportunity to read and review another one of Mandel’s works, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Happy reading!

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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