Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: "Hotel World" by Ali Smith

There is only so much stream of consciousness writing a man can take. It is a very shaky literary form that is simply okay when done well, like anything James Kelman writes. But when it is not done well, it sticks out like a sore thumb and is horribly, grating, gimmicky and annoying. Books like The Rules of Attraction and At Swim, Two Boys, which is the only book I stopped reading with little intention of starting back up again, are chores to read, and not in a good way. You can add Ali Smith’s Hotel World to that list. It is an easy book to read, but I’d much rather be reading something else. It moves quickly and is relatively short at only 238 pages, but they aren’t pages really worth remembering, not that you really could if you tried. It has an admirable goal in mind, the bright side of the grieving process, but it doesn’t deliver any kind of actions that will trigger an emotional response. It all takes place around a high-end hotel and is narrated by many different kinds of people, all who were involved in the recent death of a chambermaid who has fallen down the elevator shaft of a dumbwaiter. Her ghost is the first person we hear from, as she observes life after she has left it. We then meet a homeless person who falls into some very disgusting things in order to get money, and a newspaper reporter holed up in her hotel room to cover the story. All involved are affected by the death and show the far-reaching effects of grief. It is a book with an emotional concept that hinders all its attempts at such by a style that is designed to confuse the reader and make them feel lost. Although it is a short book, it may not be worth your time if you are like me, without all the time on your hands.
Rating: 3/5

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