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Based Upon Availability: A Novel
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Based Upon Availability: A Novel

2.78  ·  Rating Details ·  241 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
“Like a beautifully-wrapped gift box, full of unexpected pleasures. Alix Strauss proves herself to be an astute and deeply feeling observer of human nature.”
—Dani Shapiro, author of Black & White



A stunning, wise, and witty second novel from renowned trend journalist Alix Strauss, Based Upon Availability chisels away at the exteriors of eight smart and intriguing women
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ebook, 352 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Morgan, the hotel manager of Four Seasons, still misses her sister, who died almost twenty-four years ago, and is contemplating breaking up with her methodical boyfriend. As she meets with her clients and customers, interviews applicants and does room searches, she comes across several interesting women, each with her own story to tell. Some of them are not who they appear to be, and most, like her, are looking for some closure to their problems, some happiness and human connection. Through it a ...more
Peter Derk
I never knew that ladies were so troubled. ALL ladies, apparently.

I'd like to apologize to any ladies that I made feel bad in the past, going back until about high school. I did make fun of girls in elementary school, but I feel that was out of my control. Plus, they weren't ladies yet, therefore they were ripe for parody.

We get, in the mix here, an eating disorder, a sisterly rivalry gone too far, a burnout rockstar, a woman who commits arson, a woman who has a phantom pregnancy, and a woman wh
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Lisa
Apr 30, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a bunch of depressing, dysfunctional characters!! You'd think I'd love this, since I'm a therapist, but I get enough dysfunction at work!!

Based around the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, this book is the story of several women, all tied together by the main character - a manager of the hotel. In the first ten pages, the main character Morgan rifles through people's hotel rooms and has sex with a busboy in the pantry of the hotel's kitchen. I understand feeling at odds with life, but ge
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Michele Shimp
Feb 22, 2011 Michele Shimp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I got this book through the Early Reviewers program here on LibraryThing. The first half of the book is about Morgan - a manager at the Four Seasons hotel in NY. She talks about her job, her dead sister being a part of her life, her parents, how she goes into random rooms at the hotel and steals drugs and other things from folks. She talks about the people she meets and obsesses over. Then the second half of the book are about other ladies who somehow interact with Morgan or someone she knows. A ...more
Brisbride13
it's actually really quite sad that this book went from a great read to absolute confusion for me. I was thoroughly enjoying this book; which is the Morgan half, but I noticed that I was getting pretty far into this book and all the chapters were about Morgan. It's not until chapter 10 that we read a chapter that concentrates on another woman from Morgan's life. By the time some of these chapters come up, I couldn't really place them from Morgan's chapters, and most of the time I just didn't car ...more
Gaby

The Four Seasons is one of the luxury places that evokes images of Beautiful People - good looking, wealthy, glamorous. Based on Availability is an unusual novel that tells the stories of seemingly unconnected women who pass through Manhattan's Four Seasons Hotel. Here are some of the characters that you meet:

* Morgan, the hotel manager, is the dominant character in the novel who is somehow linked to many of the main characters. Glamorous, efficient, and upwardly mobile, few people are aware th
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Diane
Jun 29, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The storied Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan is the backdrop for a unique novel about the secrets that women carry. Based Upon Availability by Alix Strauss ties eight women's stories into the hotel, with Morgan, a sales manager at the hotel, at the center of the story.

Morgan's life seems to revolve around a tragedy that occurred in her youth. Her older sister Dale died when she was just eleven years old, after a long, protracted illness. Her sister's death has held the center of Morgan's life. M
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Jael
Jun 28, 2010 Jael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The next time I stay in a hotel all of my belongings -- even the toothpaste -- will have a really loud alarm attached to them!!

Why? Because a character named Morgan in Based Upon Availability has STICKY FINGERS!

Upon first glance, I thought this was going to be a light read. Look at that cover. It's fairly light and cheerful with those flowers on it. But those windows are closed, hiding what's inside -- a dark and humorous novel by Alix Strauss.

Four Seasons hotel manager Morgan has long been hau
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Susan Hendricks
Well, if you ever thought your life was messed up, read this book and feel better about yourself. I liked the way the story was written though and the intertwining of the characters was interesting and clever.
Bookish
Apr 26, 2011 Bookish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
I really would have liked to give this book four stars, as I ended up liking it more than I expected to. Usually when there are multiple protagonists, and the story is told from several different perspectives, it proves to be an enriching experience overall. However, it does depend on how well the novel gels together, and in this case Alix Strauss had a great idea that wasn't executed as well as it could have been.

The main impediment in this novel is how the chapters (or protagonists) were orde
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Laura
May 30, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The lives of several lonely young women intersect at New York City's upscale hotel The Four Seasons.

Unfortunately, this book starts out a lot (as in, you know, a lot) stronger than it finishes. Yeah, that's a pretty common problem in novels, but it's especially pronounced here. The structure of the book is awfully strange; it starts out as a first-person narration by Morgan, a Four Seasons manager, and everything is fine. But about halfway through the book, the point of view changes (with one ch
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Alison Hardtmann
Not long into Based Upon Availability the main character, Morgan, a manager at a ritzy Manhattan hotel, declares that she is "a good girl...loyal and honest," a statement that would have been easier to believe had she not already made a habit of stealing items, primarily prescription medication and sex toys, from guests' rooms, coerced a subordinate into having sex with her and lied to her boyfriend. Morgan is self-involved, full of self-pity and so fragile that a careless remark can send her in ...more
Rebecca
Jun 15, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
Another one of those simple stories where it's the location that all the characters have in common, not each other.

Story takes place in a hotel and half the book was about the hotel manager and her personal life and dealing with co-workers as well as clients at the hotel. All the other stories were also about girls too, a co-worker, a client, family. It was interesting how it all connected, which I hate to fall into that trap, but I like stories like that. I like that it isn't totally obvious ho
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Dana Rose Bailey
First let me be fair by saying I didn't finish this book. Maybe it got better.

This was a book club book so I tried to read it, but only made it about 50 pages in.

There was no story problem or inciting incident. I felt no reason to read past what I did. I simply didn't care what happened to Morgan. It was just following her day to day messed up life. She was old enough to have dealt with her issues by the time this book started. There was no spark to making her issues worse. She just came across
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Laura
I enjoyed reading the beginning of the book so much that I stayed up late just to read a little more. I finished the book the next day with disappointment. A lot of the writing was great, but some of it was painfully trite. Particularly the story about the woman who wanted so badly to be pregnant. Everything leading up to the end of that story was fine, but the ending was SO cliche. I would have written that ending myself in creative writing 101 and been very smug about how clever it was, withou ...more
Jessica
Jul 07, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
The lives of eight lonely women come together in Manhattan's Four Seasons hotel. Trish obsesses over her best friend's wedding and dramatic weight loss. Robin wants revenge after a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her older sister. Anne is single, lonely, and suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drug-addicted rock star Louise needs to dry out. Southerner turned wannabe Manhattanite Franny is envious of her neighbors' lives. Sheila wants to punish her boyfriend for returning to his wife ...more
exncgal
2.5 stars.

Great prose; I really liked the author's choice of words in several places. Unfortunately the plot did not hang together very well. The description of "intertwined stories" was a bit misleading, as the first half was all Morgan and the second half was other people who simply plugged into Morgan's narrative. Sure, the stories were interesting, but it didn't flow well to me. And there were a few too many editing mistakes for me to overlook (there were several "vile of coke" mishaps).
Elyse P
Had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. Strauss is a great storyteller, but all of the characters are extremely flawed and there's an undercurrent of bleakness and depression throughout each storyline. (If you're feeling down, this is not the book for you!)

At times I was tempted to stop reading and pick up another book, but then I would wonder what would happen next to each character. It was also interesting to see how all of the characters were linked together through their stays at one
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Kelly
May 06, 2011 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, which was good because it pretty much sucked. Supposedly these women's lives all had some sort of connection to one hotel (and thus each other?) but the individual stories really didn't fit together (some seemed totally pointless and many were just plain weird!) and most left you hanging with no real conclusion or closure.

I'm on a string of bad books. I need a good one - stat! (PS - ever wondered that meaning behind "stat"? I did, so I just looked it up - it comes from the latin word
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Anita
Jul 24, 2010 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been having a hard time staying focused on what I'm reading these days, so I need something that will interest me right away and the whole way through. This book did that, but the reason I didn't give it a higher rating is because it left me unsatisfied. Each chapter of this book focuses on a different woman, and each one was really interesting, but you don't know what happens to them - the stories of each woman are left unfinished. I thought that it would all be tied up in the end, but not ...more
Lauren
Jul 11, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mindless and quick read. Not the worst book I have picked up in a hurry at the library--and I'm not ashamed I chose it because I kinda like the title--but really not meant for more than the beach.


Just finished this and actually enjoyed it a lot. It is the story of various rooms at the NYC Four Seasons Hotel based on the women who stay there, what they are going through, and how their lives are all connected in some way. Perfect for the beach or a long plane ride.
G
Jan 15, 2011 G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book; just connected with it and read it at the perfect time in my life. I've been trying to read it since last summer after stumbling across it and the author, Alix Strauss, at BEA. I've felt guilty for months that I never got around to reading it, but now I'm glad that I waited to read it.

Check out my blog post about this book here:

http://thegirlfromtheghetto.wordpress...
Amy
Oct 24, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first portion of this very odd book focuses on Morgan, a manager at the Four Seasons hotel, and her encounters with other women who come to the hotel. The second portion looks more in detail at what brings those women to the Four Seasons. While their stories are interesting, they are disjointed and while there are many overlapping connections among the stories, they don't really seem to connect in any substantial way. The ending becomes less than satisfying.
Allyson
Aug 11, 2010 Allyson rated it liked it
I liked the way the individual stories intertwined in this book but found some of the stories quite disturbing which is probably typical of mental illness but not something I typically read and did not expect in a book about the Four Seasons! It was sad and humbling to watch these women painfully live their lives. It was almost painful to read about how broken these people were, to see them caught in lives that had no meaning.
Sarah Wagner
An interesting look at the lives of women who intersect at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City. Short stories about each of the women explored form the core of this novel, and it is interesting to see how their lives weave together. However, the conclusion left some story lines unresolved and some of the characters lacked the depth of others. Overall, I found this novel to be an interesting read, but not a great one.
Paula Margulies
I had trouble reading this book, mainly because the beginning focused on one character, Morgan, a Four Seasons Hotel manager, who sexually preys on the hotel staff and enters customers rooms without permission. Not a likeable or admirable character in any sense. I did not get past the first 30 pages.
Emily
Mar 02, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm normally not a huge fan of books with more than one main character from whom the perspective rotates, especially one with 4-5 characters... but these characters were all so intertwined, and the closeness of which they were tied together was revealed the more you read. It was hard to put down! I loved it.
Kim
Apr 20, 2013 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
Oct 18, 2015 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
thought it took forever to link the women together the stories never really finish or tie up, except Morgans. Almost gave up on this book when I started it. Morgan was a looser with power slipping into rooms taking stuff from guest and sleeping with the staff. would not watch this if it was a movie.
Diane
Apr 25, 2011 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hopeful in the beginning, though wondering when the story would get to someone besides Morgan.

The other characters seemed rushed and the ending flopped for me.

Maybe if I knew who has Uncle Marty's ashes I wouldn't have been so disappointed?
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Alix received a degree in Educational Theater from NYU, and has taught Fiction, Creative Writing, Personal Essays, and Writing for Magazines for the past fifteen years. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships from programs such as the Wesleyan Writers Conference, the Skidmore College Writerʼs Institute, the Sarah Lawrence Summer Program, and the Squaw Valleyʼs Screenwritersʼ Summer ...more
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