Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

"Strange Hotel" by Eimear McBride

An audio book

A 35 y.o. woman revisits a french hotel. She has a plan. She turns down a man. She orders a bottle of wine and watches porn. She realises next morning that the man in the next room could have overheard her. She goes on the balcony, thinks about falling, obsesses about the man, hears him shower. Then there are hotel rooms in Prague, Oslo, Auckland, Austin - sometimes with men. The Austin liaison could have become serious. The morning-afters are awkward.

Now she's 49. A significant other was 49 when he died. He had someone else. She has a son by him. Seeing him's sometimes harder than remembering the dead man.

She sees her life as a succession of hotel rooms. Trouble is, quite a lot of it's boring.

Other reviews

  • Holly Williams (the voice, which is expressed in a kind of convoluted verbosity (“it’s merely her preference not to indulge mortality’s by now routine assaults on her carefully habituated ennui”), as her protagonist engages in an endless, spiralling conversation with herself – analysing her thought patterns, second-guessing her motivations, casting judgment on her evasions and justifications. ... this short book is evasively lacking in context.)
  • Alex Clark (Strange Hotel oscillates between a kind of obsessional neurosis – a fixation on repetition and control – and neurasthenia, a deadening, fatigued inability to act.)
  • Goodreads
  • Kirkus reviews (The narrative is focused almost entirely inward, structured like a lengthy interior monologue or self-negotiation that often grows claustrophobic. ... Ultimately, though, as the protagonist herself acknowledges, “the time for this digression is up. She should really be getting off this subject.” Readers will agree at many points in her story.)

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