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Finbar's Hotel

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  367 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"Devised and edited" by Dermot Bolger, Finbar's Hotel pools the efforts of seven acclaimed Irish novelists -- Joseph O'Connor, Anne Enright, Colm Toíbín, Roddy Doyle, Jennifer Johnston, Hugo Hamilton, and Bolger himself -- in a humorous and suspenseful collaborative novel. A Dublin landmark since its glory days the 1920s, Finbar's Hotel has grown increasingly shabby with t...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Mariner Books (first published 1997)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtDubliners by James JoyceDracula by Bram StokerThe Collected Poems by W.B. Yeats
Best Irish Literature
195th out of 376 books — 445 voters
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Light but not (too) dumb
237th out of 709 books — 698 voters

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Community Reviews

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Perhaps it’s not being so stuffy to admit that a collaborative novel -- especially when it involves seven collaborators! -- doesn’t sound terribly appealing. After all, writing isn’t a democratic enterprise and novels are fitful, fragile creations. They can too easily cave in under the weight of a gimmick or come apart without the adhesion of a single author’s vision. Which only makes Finbar’s Hotel more impressive. If collaboration is a risk that invites disaster, then it must also make room fo...more
One or 2 of the stories were slightly interesting, the rest were slightly or very disturbing. A few seemed to have really no point at all or maybe I was just too dense to read into what the author was trying to convey. I kept hoping it would get better and that the next author would come up with a more creative story, but each time the stories were disappointing. Too bad because the book had such potential to be a great insight into some different personalities. Most of the stories were a little...more
Kelsey Sherman
This was a $4 purchase at an old, used book barn which intrigued me with the blurb on the page proceeding the title page about the authors being listed alphabetically, but with no attribution to each story. I'm a sucker for a good mystery and being the geek that I am, I did a little more research on the development of this book. I learned that it began with an idea and each author (in an unknown order) read the previous authors' stories and ran with their own idea. By this time I am totally into...more
This is an interesting idea. Seven short stories, all based at Finbar’s Hotel, Dublin, which is shortly to be closed down and renovated. Each story is written by a different Irish writer and is based on an occupant in one of the rooms. We are not told which writer wrote which story. However each writer has also picked up from the previous story and so even as they introduce a new character, the various characters featured in the other tales may appear too as “bit players”. The stories also revea...more
Sara Habein
Ah, collective loneliness and anxiety about life. Enjoyed this. Worth returning it late to the library.
I like that the short stories both stand alone and create a tapestry. Creating together a much richer understanding of Finbar's and gives extra glimpses of the Characters.

I re-read like mad, but this one is always an extra sweet re-read surprise.

Not the most interesting or original idea, but it certainly works well for what it does. One thing that does upset me is that the reader is not told who authors each of the sections, so I can't stalk the author of the stories I like the best.
Melissa DeGott
This was definitely a unique read. I haven't read anything like it before. I love Irish culture so I was immediately drawn to this book. I found it very interesting how each chapter followed a different person that was checked into a different room with a different story. Very captivating in that sense. I did find it a bit wordy and some chapters I enjoyed more than others, but overall a book I would recommend to someone interested in unique fiction with an Irish attitude.
Cleverly conceived. Seven Irish authors take their turn at telling the story of a night in a seedy Dublin hotel that is soon to be demolished. Each chapter is told by one of the guests who are checked in and interweave their stories with a guest previously mentioned. The characters are colorful as well - from a paranoid art thief to a cat-napper who steals his ex's beloved kitty in retribution. Excellent, quick read.
I read this book for a book club my neighbor invited me to attend. When I finished the book, I felt like there had been no point in reading it. Because it consists of 7 short stories, there was not enough time in each to build up a plot. It wasn't uplifting. I didn't learn anything. It was filled with trash such as adultery, rape, stealing, etc. I was not impressed! It was a waste of my time.
An enjoyable read, made all the more enjoyable from being familiar with the section of Dublin where it is set. The overlapping of the stories makes for an intriguing link between them and keeps a momentum in the book.

In spite of being called a novel it is more a series of linked short stories. It does touch on a number of facets of Irish life and characters.
Christina Gagliano
Each chapter could stand as a short story, but each one links to the other by mentioning characters from one story to the next. The last story was the weakest but the rest of the stories were, as the Irish would say "brilliant." I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much if I hadn't just been to Dublin and knew about/been to most of the places mentioned.
Mandy Sherman

I liked the idea of this book. A bunch of authors writing a chapter where the last left off. Since it is about the visitors in a hotel each has their own separate story line merging in small instances. The first chapter I really enjoyed. The others were just boring and at points depressing.
Jul 29, 2007 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone traveling to Ireland
Fun read--especially for the beach. Pokes a lot of fun at Americans traveling in Ireland (granted, we are an easy target at times). As a series of short stories, it is an easy read to pick up and put down often. Stories link together a bit which makes the entire collection more interesting.
A clever multi-author novel that never feels anything other than cohesive. Some strong character studies but each handled with wit as well as insight. Finbar's Hotel blends humour with a permeating sense of emptiness and decay with a deceptively light touch from all its authors.
Anne London
Interesting concept--each chapter is written by a different author with only a very slight overlap. I don't think I would have read it had it not been for book club, but am glad that I did if just for the uniqueness of how it is written.
Tim O'Riordan
Collection of short stories by different writers all occurring on the same night in the same hotel if my memory serves me correctly. Some of the stories were ok but it didn't hold my attention enough to bother finish reading.
A fun collection of short stories set in an Irish hotel. I love how the characters from the different stories, each with different authors and styles, interact and reference each other from one story to the next -- very clever.
A bunch of short stories in a hotel that is on it's last legs of life. Some of these stories were really good, some ok, and some better skipped. The Ladies night one is much better.
I read this a long time ago but I remember enjoying it in a good but not great way. I liked the intertwining of different stories in a tangential way.
Nov 15, 2012 Ambre rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ambre by: Oonagh Moore
I really did enjoy this book. Wasn't sure what it would read like but the stories all blended together really cohesively.
Interesting the way the stories were woven together. It was a nice, quiet read, not very exciting, but interesting.
Read this over the Hawaii trip. Compelling stories interwoven by some strong Irish writers.
Paul Heather
From bookshelf in Gite. Really good read and the first chapter in particular is hilarious
Really interesting, now I need to get 'Ladies Night' from the library.
Either I don’t get Irish humour and/ or these stories aren't funny.
Hate it when that happens, but I gave it up about 3/4 through.
good short stories, dark humour. liked quite a lot.
this book sucks lol to me it does sorry >:[
One of my favourite "hotel novels" ...
Mar 26, 2010 Drew added it
Finbar's Hotel: A Novel (1999)
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Dermot Bolger is an Irish novelist, playwright and poet born in Finglas, a suburb of Dublin.

His work is often concerned with the articulation of the experiences of working-class characters who, for various reasons, feel alienated from society. Bolger questions the relevance of traditional nationalist concepts of Irishness, arguing for a more plural and inclusive society.

In the late 1970s Bolger se...more
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