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The Lady Matador's Hotel: A Novel (ARC)

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  656 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
National Book Award finalist Cristina Garcia delivers a powerful and gorgeous novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a luxurious hotel in an unnamed Central American capital in the midst of political turmoil. The lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese Mexican-American matadora in town for a bullfighting competiti ...more
Paperback, ARC edition of ISBN-13 9781439181744, 209 pages
Published 2010 by Scribner
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Since I rather enjoyed Garcia's Dreaming in Cuban, I was disappointed in this novel. Although there were one or two beautiful passages, most notably the description of the Lady Matador's penultimate bullfight, and Garcia has the ability to turn a beautiful phrase (eg., "...vowels so elastic they felt like rubber bands in his mouth"), still: I simply never connected with any of the characters, never cared about what happened to any of them. I couldn't quite figure out what it was Garcia was tryin ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lady Matador's Hotel is written by Cristina Garcia, a new to me author. The novel is written in one of my favorite styles -- omniscient, third person narration. In this story the lives of six individuals become interwoven at a luxury hotel in an unnamed in Central America capital city. The entire story takes place at the Hotel Milaflor over a period of seven days.

Central to the story is the Lady Matador, Suki Palacios who is half-Mexican and half-Japanese. She has arrived at the Hotel Miliflor f
Nov 26, 2012 Devon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compared to Dreaming In Cuban, another book of Garcia's that I've read, The Lady Matador's Hotel is bizarre. Garcia likes to use ghosts and elements of magical realism in her writing, but The Lady Matador's Hotel only uses this in a few sections. Instead, Garcia relies on a large cast of characters, none of which the reader gets to know too well, but all with their own agendas and their own quirks.

The characters come from many different countries, different upbringings, and different careers, a
May 29, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's get this out of the way: I had the pleasure of getting to know Cristina Garcia when I took a workshop with her last year, and she's as warm and enchanting as fans of her stuff might imagine. That said, I'm grateful I didn't read this book of hers while she was my professor because hot DAMN would I have been intimidated.

The novel follows the different yet interwoven lives of one hotel's patrons in an unknown Central American capital. As the title suggests, a lady matador is one character (a
Tara Chevrestt
This was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a story mostly about a lady matador with a intriguing cast of surrounding characters. What I got is a mere tablespoon of a Mexican Japanese lady matador that likes to have silent sex with strangers with nice feet and a an entire cupfull of unlikeable and/or disturbing characters. The exception being Aura, a former guerrilla fighter now plotting to kill a colonel, a resident in the same hotel. But even she is weird as she believes she is s ...more
Pete Schulte
Jun 02, 2010 Pete Schulte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The Lady Matador's Hotel' tells the story of one week in an unnamed Central American capital at the upscale Hotel Miraflor. A series of bullfights and political elections fill the city with excitement and tension, while a fickle hurricane dances across the Caribbean waters. Anything can happen in such a charged climate. Anything to anyone.

The Lady Matador, Suki Palacios, is a study of otherworldly beauty and poise, single-minded and distant as she enters the ring and faces down the most ferocio
Jun 01, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suki Palacios has come to Central America to compete in a battle to determine the best female matador. Staying at the same hotel as other travelers to this country she is admired by most but remains aloof from them all. Each person at the hotel has a story. Their lives briefly touch each other’s but they remain separated by their stories--the lawyer who arranges adoptions to foreigners, the general who suppressed the rebel guerillas, the waitress who is an ex-guerilla, the Korean businessman wit ...more
Feb 16, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I love Cristina Garcia's novels and I loved this one. She alternates among six characters at a hotel in an unnamed Central American city: a female bullfighter, a Korean businessman with a teenage lover, a Cuban poet seeking to adopt a baby, a colonel who committed war crimes, an ex-guerrilla who wants to avenge her brother's murder and an attorney who arranges the adoption of local babies. Garcia's touch is perfect; she never shares too much information about her characters but picks details tha ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Harley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book, which I grabbed at the library, but one of my favorite things about Cristina Garcia is her generational view, families moving through cultural changes, the flow of family history and dynamics. This story had a series of tangentially related and intertwined characters in a short time frame, and while it was a series of intriguing stories, it didn't jell for me in the same way as Dreaming in Cuban, The Aguero Sisters, and Monkey Hunting. Her language is beautiful as usual, and ...more
Ms. Online
Jul 28, 2010 Ms. Online is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed by Helena María Viramontes

Dictators and their aftermath continue to dominate the literature, and the lives, of the Americas. Writers from Gabriel García Márquez to Julia Alvarez to Junot Díaz chronicle the force of grief these regimes leave behind, as well as the hopeful resiliency of citizens suffering under the greed and corruption of leaders who fear nothing but the loss of power. The winds of change in these fascist governments are measured by which way
Aug 26, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up haphazardly one day at Borders. I intended to just keep it as a light read for a trip I was going on but once I was a page or two in I could hardly put it down.

Garcia has a great capability to set up a scene both visually and emotionally. Although at times the driving emotions of characters can get to be a bit cliche, her writing style allows them to remain entertaining and sincere. The endless suply of guests at the hotel keep the storyline moving quickly, however, I belie
Jul 24, 2011 Traci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read some of Garcia's other books, but because she is coming to be a writer in residence at UM this fall, I wanted to check out her newest work. This is a thinly veiled portrait of modern Guatemala, so I found the characters and issues familiar...there are a series of characters whose lives intertwine a bit...I liked the lady matador the best, the former guerrilla now waitress is also compelling. Garcia really harshes on the foreign adoption scam, which it rightly deserves, although her por ...more
Vincent Abrego
Oct 19, 2011 Vincent Abrego rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Garcia has a talent for creating impressive visual depictions in the mind of the reader, but the storylines and characters did nothing to capture my imagination. None of the characters had significant dimension, and their storylines were carried out like a paint-by-numbers. I don't regret reading The Lady Matador's Hotel, but it didn't inspire me to seek Garcia's other work.
Jun 03, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cristina Garcia weaves together the lives of five characters at a hotel in an unnamed Central American country. With its lyrical description and touches of magic (and of course the setting), the prose may faintly echo that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but Cristina Garcia has crafted a subtle and delightful gem of her own.
At first glance at the back cover, I thought this book might be a Bel Canto (Ann Patchett) look-alike, but from the first lines I found the writing to be lush and captivating and the characters to wholly original. At 3:30 AM I had to force myself to set it down and turn out the light.
Sep 25, 2010 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was smart, with super unique characters and a storyline that kept me guessing about what could happen next. Looking forward to reading some other books by this author.
Miko Lee
I picked this book up because the premise (unnamed Central American hotel with a mix of diverse people) reminded me of one of my favorite books Bel Canto. While it was nothing like Ann Patchetts great allegory about culture, it was still entertaining. I like Gracias quirky characters and particularly her strong and sometimes repellent women. A few days in a hotel and we meet a former warlord, a revolutionary and her ghost brother, an exiled Cuban poet, a sleazy international adoption lawyer, a K ...more
Jul 09, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My kind of book. The women (for the most part) are spectacular whether they are peasants or matadoras. The men (with rare exceptions) are pigs. Just like real life.
Sep 16, 2010 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautifully written piece of literature
Steven Buechler
Sep 14, 2015 Steven Buechler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
García has the ability to be both lyrical and frank in her writing. The story deals with a group of people whose lives have intersected at a luxury hotel in an unnamed Central-American city. Readers get deeply inside the thoughts of each of the six characters (three men and three women) and experience their fears, their desires and even their cruel indifference. This is a great book that not only looks at life in Central America, but at the human condition in general.
Deceptively simple, though startlingly compelling novel that follow several residents of a hotel in an unnamed post-civil war central american country somewhere

- lady matador of mexican/japanese descent
- ex guerilla who is working as a maid
- a cuban refugee poet who is adopting a baby
- a ruthless german lawyer who sells babies for adoption
- brutal colonel who did not do nice things during the recent civil war
- korean industrialist whose mistress is expecting a baby

Also starring:
- touches o
Jan 20, 2012 Katherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“Aviaries with raucous jungle parrots outmatch the mariachis in volume and plumage” (4).
“Men are so ridiculous, Aura thinks, bowing curtly; and because they fear ridicule, they're exceedingly dangerous” (8).
“She thinks of reporters as a necessary evil, bottom-feeders, rotten to the core. If she were forced into cannibalism, she'd eat their flesh last” (40).
“The vulgarity everywhere oppresses him” (60).
“The elevators are slow in coming, ticking erratically like broken metronomes” (62).
“'Reading i
Laura (booksnob)
Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to our beautiful Hotel Miraflor located in South America. I hope you enjoy your stay with us. For your convenience we have a Garden Restaurant in the hotel and they serve excellent pork chops. Aura will be your waitress. Aura is an ex-guerrilla and has had tragedy in her life. Be nice to her and she will treat you well. Don't forget to see our funny parrot who hangs out at the bar. The bartender teaches him to say such silly phrases.

We have several famous and privile
Feb 25, 2012 Benjamin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Capital M, capital E, capital H - MEH. I humored this book - at 200 pages, it was an easy humoring. Too many characters, not enough time spent on them; too many cliches, too many poorly-crafted sentences, too much platitude. The excessive random detail would've been appreciable, except that it ate up page space that could've been used to make the characters more likeable.

It wasn't a bad book, per se. Conceptually, it was interesting: a flurry of scenes, people, moments, and emotions, all of them
Oct 20, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lady Matador’s Hotel takes place in an upscale hotel in an unnamed Central American capital. It tells the stories of six individuals whose lives intersect in significant and not so significant ways. The varied characters of the novel include a Mexican-American-Japanese matadora who is competing in a high profile bullfighting competition, a Korean businessman who is under scrutiny for labor rights violations at his factory, a Cuban poet who is in town to adopt a child with his American wife, ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
The Lady Matador's Hotel tells the story of several individuals who all converge in an unnamed Central American capital (my guess is Honduras or Guatemala) during a time of great upheaval. Some characters are more affected than others as they make their way through their roles and responsibilities in the city. Each chapter is divided up into vignettes about each individual character.

The author has a wonderful way of writing and I almost gave the book 3 stars instead of the 2 that I ultimately d
Oct 31, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always intrigued by quirky novels and if they are Latina Lit, even more so. I loved Cristina Sanchez's "Dreaming in Cuban" more, but I did enjoy this goofy tale. It had a lot of serious themes (income disparity, corruption in Central American politics, revolution, spiritualism, suicide, adoption, international adoption) taking place in the heads and lives of six diverse characters. I wasn't so much caring about these people as I was engaged in this week of their lives. The hotel was the bac ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Overall, critics found The Lady Matador's Hotel an appealing novel, describing it as bold, vibrant, and having "the energy of an obsessive tango (New York Times). Like most works featuring multiple narratives, some story lines and characters enticed the critics more than others (the ex-guerilla waitress was a clear favorite, while some reviewers felt the book's villains verged on caricature). The Washington Post critic, who could not understand the novel's message or appeal, stood out as the lon ...more
Jan 22, 2011 pdxmaven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to pdxmaven by: Scribner website
Another from the Scribner site; otherwise would have never read it and had to force myself through it. Nothing to write home about. It was as though, in a writing class, someone said to the author, "Think of a place like a hotel, where a bunch of people would be, and might cross paths, and write a book about it, a chapter per person and then repeat. Setting it in some mysterious Central American country with a woman bullfighter (and Japanese-Mexican-American at that!) and a military colonel did ...more
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After working for Time Magazine as a researcher, reporter, and Miami bureau chief, García turned to writing fiction. Her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban (1992), received critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has since published her novels The Agüero Sisters (1997) and Monkey Hunting (2003), and has edited books of Cuban and other Latin American literature. Her fourth ...more
More about Cristina García...

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“Poetry by its very nature is subversive . . . It turns words inside out, confounds meaning, changes black and white to ambiguous shades of gray. Never trust a poet.” 4 likes
“Aura is convinced that the entire country has succumbed to a collective amnesia. This is what happened in a society, where no one is permitted to grow old slowly. Nobody talks of the past, for fear their wounds might reopen. Privately though, their wounds never heal.” 2 likes
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