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The Pink Hotel

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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,167 ratings  ·  155 reviews
A seventeen-year-old London girl flies to Los Angeles for the funeral of her mother Lily, from whom she had been separated in her childhood. After stealing a suitcase of letters, clothes and photographs from her mum's bedroom at the top of a hotel on Venice Beach, the girl spends her summer travelling around Los Angeles returning love letters and photographs to the men who ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Picador (first published April 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,167 ratings  ·  155 reviews


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lucy  black
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, favourites
It's like:

Weetzie Bat grown up
A Sophia Cuppola film
The smell of asphalt drying in the sun
Gum
Sitting and waiting in a sticky cafe
Sleeping on a strange mattress on the floor
Desperatley Seeking Susan
Rat girl

it's really good
...more
Bookread2day
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A young 17 year old girl sets of from London and flys to LA for her mothers Lily's funeral. Lily has not had anything to do with her daughter's upbringing. While the young 17 year old girl is in LA she finds out things about her mothers past. ...more
Lucy Gold
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never been to LA, but this book left me with such a strong and haunting picture of the city: the reader comes away with not just the sights of Venice Beach, but the taste of it, the smell of it, burnt into mind.

The Pink Hotel is quite a strange and heady mix of a story, echoing perfectly the heady strangeness of its setting. There’s a fairy tale quality to the protagonist’s narration (she meets The Giant and the Red Haired Man), but this sweetness builds up into something unexpected; this
...more
Kara
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
So here's the thing. I could write a really captivating review about how what I wanted from this book was so different from what I got, etc. etc. But at the end of the day it just boils down to this: the main character/narrator wasn't just unlikeable, she was unknowable.

An unnamed MC (I really hate that, btw) goes to LA for the funeral of the mother she never knew, who abandoned her when she was about three. She ends up staying in LA to track down some of the people that knew her, old coworkers,
...more
Zarina
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A 17 year-old British girl runs away to the US after hearing that the mother she did not have any contact with, Lily, has passed away. Once in LA she tries to discover who her mother was and along the way she meets a wide array of colourful people.

It rarely happens I dislike a main character as much as I did in the case of The Pink Hotel, what an annoying, bland and disconnected girl! And so many of her actions and the storylines didn't add up. For instance on one page a character tells her she
...more
Anne
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Despite the title and the cover, this novel is not 'pink and fluffy' chick lit, it is an intelligent, emotional and very cleverly written story about a young British girl's experience in America. It's about finding out about yourself and where you come from and facing up to life and discovering just who you are.

Lily left her daughter many years ago, just ran away and was never heard from again. When her daughter hears that Lily has died, she steals money from her Dad and books a ticket to Ameri
...more
Renee
May 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
While I finished this book in 2 days, and found it a good read, it left me kind of empty. It wasn't one of those books that I put down and thought, "that was fantastic" or the desire to tell all my friends they need to read it. I had read a review on Salon.com of how fantastic the book was, with a huge twist ending. Um, while I was surprised, it certainly wasn't a jaw dropper or anything that shocked me.

The writing is really great. Anna Stothard's storytelling is so descriptive that it really do
...more
Goddess Of Blah
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
description
What I noticed about the book is that I couldn't remember the protagonist's name. Even though I've only just finished the book. I suspect its because her name is never mentioned in the book. However, I could be wrong. It just felt odd thinking of her as the teenage girl. She's not quite anonymous. But she is nameless. A drifter with a strangled identity.

GRITTY EDGY READ.
description
description
Occasionally, I do feel that that there is a reoccurring theme with young female authors, a sort of rite of passage that (a
...more
CuteBadger
A 17-year-old London girl flies to Los Angeles on the spur of the moment to attend the wake of the mother she never knew. Rather than going straight home afterwards, she tries to find out about her mother's life by tracking down the men she'd had relationships with.

I found it difficult to relate to this novel's main character, as we never find out what her name is, and she has such difficulty in relating to herself. So although the narrative is written in the first person and the reader is insi
...more
Jaime Boler

In Anna Stothard’s candidly unflinching, evocative, and razor-sharp debut novel The Pink Hotel, the female protagonist is interested in creation stories and myths. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Noah’s flood, and the Aztec legend of “Coatlique” fascinate the astute and precocious 17-year-old British girl. And there’s a reason for her curiosity: her mother, Lily, left when she was only three. The girl desperately wants to know her own creation story, and her dad has never been forthcoming about the tale
...more
Ms.pegasus
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves original fiction
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: review by Caroline Leavitt in the Boston Globe
Shelves: fiction
The title implies a lightness of mood, perhaps even whimsy. Instead, author Anna Slothard has created a novel dense with unsettling imagery. We see walls of poached salmon (the suggestion of water leads to associations of washed-out) and a cheap blue table. It's a shabby hotel on Venice Beach, seen through the eyes of Lily's daughter. Lily owned the hotel with her current husband. The daughter is from several marriages past, and is floating like a ghost, seeing but unseen, through what turns out ...more
Danielle Robertson
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
(Taken from a review on my blog, The Reader's Commute):

As readers, we learn along with the narrator about the character that was Lily. We learn that “her bedroom reeked of cigarette ash and stale perfume” on the very first page. However, this small detail is not enough for the narrator, a girl who relishes in ample sleep and physical pain. Like someone who incessantly presses a bruise, the narrator delves deeper into the world that was her mother’s. She wears Lily’s clothes (even her underwear),
...more
Lyndsey O'Halloran
Something quite strange about this book is that the protagonist never gets named. Maybe because it is told in the first person from the teenager’s perspective, who knows. Even though her name is never mentioned, she was a wonderful character to read about. Being left by her mother at the age of three had a massive impact on her life as she was left to be brought up by her father. She’s also not a girly girl at all and loves things such as football and getting into fights. The lack of a motherly ...more
Stefanie
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely devoured this book from cover to cover - if I had started it earlier in the day, I would have easily finished it that same day. I found it to be not only well written, but completely mesmerizing.

At times harshly realistic, this is definitely not your typical coming of age story, but that was one of the reasons why I appreciated it so much. The unnamed protagonist is hard to understand at first and seems to be lacking clear emotions or motivation. But the more you learn about her li
...more
Alice Slater
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A retelling of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, set against the sun-bleached, nicotine-scented backstreets of LA. We are introduced to the nameless narrator of The Pink Hotel as she gatecrashes her mother's Venice Beach funeral, full of the faded glamour of alcoholics and drug addicts in mourning. A stranger, she skulks around in her tracksuit bottoms before surreptitiously legging it with nothing but a stolen suitcase full of dresses, maps and photographs to piece together all she can about Lily, t ...more
Julia
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I chewed this one up quickly and found myself forgetting it almost before I finished reading. The narrator, a vaguely maladjusted teenager, travels from England to Los Angeles (described here mostly in terms of sweat and concrete - seriously, sweat and concrete on every page, pretty much) to learn about her recently deceased teenaged mother, who, it turns out, was basically manic pixie dream mom. The narrator tries on her identity for size, mostly by wearing her clothes, sleeping with men she kn ...more
For Books' Sake
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pink Hotel picks up on similar themes of obsession to Anna Stothard's debut novel Isabel and Rocco, using the dirty glamour of Los Angeles as background.

The first-person narrative and a text rich with witty and entertaining dialogue make it a smooth and easy read despite some of the darker subject matter. Characters discuss everything from jellyfish and treasured words to their experiences of Lily, revealing more about their own eccentricities in the process.

The Pink Hotel is a self-assured
...more
Kris
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book from the goodreads giveaways and read the book in one day. The imagery in this book is cloud 9. You must read this book with an open mind and a great sense of imagination to really appreciate its creativity. My favorite books are ones that have a strong main character in which the reader can emotionally connect with and leave you rooting for them until the very end, this was one of those books. I didn't identify with the invisibility of the character, but what I found myself ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. The language was incredible, the descriptions of the main protagonist's imagination and dream life were eery, fantastical and frightingly resonating. This is a romance in one sense, but in another it's a new take on the classic coming of age novel like Salinger's Catcher in the Rye - though it's definitely not a YA book. The descriptions of LA were nightmarish and at the same time attractive, and a million miles from what we're usually given. No celeberities, no glamour, the violen ...more
Dalena
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finished the book annoyingly unsatisfied. Not so much with the ending but how it gets there. The blurb and concept sounded really interesting but alas.
The protagonist is a compulsive liar and when it rears its ugly head like you expect it to, you’re left unsure what just transpired and disappointed that there’s not more to it. By that point, you don’t even really care for the characters anymore (assuming you did in the first place).
Towards the end there’s too much bizarre and unnecessary des
...more
Nabilahuda Hisham
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is neither good nor bad. I ditched it a few times and decided to finish it off to challenge myself reading something different from my usual genres. I fell asleep on the earliest chapters and started to keep up with what was happening when I reached in the middle. There were so much details described which I skipped mostly. But... what I loved about this book was the way the author portrayed the life and people in LA. It was beautifully written which outweighed all the flaws in the boo ...more
Ellen
May 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was seedy and unreal. The main character is 18 and takes off to Los Angeles to her mother's funeral with very little money and no plan. It seems unbelievable that a hospital administrator would take the time to track down the only daughter of the diseased to tell her of her mother's death when her husband in the USA had been informed. The hospital administrator leaves a message on the answering machine that her father deletes, but she phones again late in the afternoon four days later ...more
Emily Randall
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I rather enjoyed reading this, it did occur to me that I haven't read a novel centred around a teenager for a while - I think maybe that's what I liked about it, a quirky character who thought she knew so much but life taught her that she had so much more still to learn and the importance of observation !

I think the short chapters made it harder to put the book down at times too, so it turned into a page turner and quite entertaining overall. I picked it up as I will be taking part in a rainbow
...more
Stephanie
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I picked this book up at the library mainly because of a blurb on the back cover stating that it was "Carson McCullers mashed up with David Lynch." Um. No. Not really. This is more Janet Fitch than David Lynch. Echoes of Fitch's White Oleander here: burning and glittering descriptions of Los Angeles, the occasional beautifully written image, a fractured relationship with an absent mother...it felt more familiar than unique. ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Meh. I didn't like the main character, who doesn't have a name. Can I just tell authors that I hate this premise? Why not give a name, so we can connect better with her? If none of the characters had a name I could understand, but the mom does (and she's not even alive).
The premise is intriguing, but I just kept getting caught up on how much I didn't like the daughter.


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
...more
Rayane
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I read by Anna Stothard, her style of writing s so haunting. How she develops the characters, it feels so profound that they remain with you long after you finish the book. She penetrates the mind of the protagonist in a way that seems so real, raw, and flawed.
I won't spoil the ending, but I like that in this one there's more clarity in the ending than "the art of leaving".
I recommend this book because I obviously enjoyed it!
...more
Katiecino
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars but I'm rounding up to 4 because I think the publishing company really did the author dirty with the covers they chose. I read this on recommendation of the "What Page Are You On" podcast and enjoyed it, though I wish a few plot points had been wrapped up better and it hadn't had such a Jane Austen ending if you know what I mean ("Of course a few months later, this, this and this happened. The end.") ...more
Johanna Djaballah
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a crazy beautiful story and I love every little bit of it. I randomly came upon this book and I am so glad I did. I had never heard of this author but now I have to pick up more of her books because I loved her style and the way she described things.
Kristy Trauzzi
Feb 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get into this story. I don't want to say much because it's all super negative. But. I'll leave it at . . . There was no point. There was no single good point in the story. I would suggest a hard pass for anyone looking at it ...more
Louise
May 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I got as far as the 5th chapter and could go no further :(
This book started with great promise then didn't deliver the further I got.
...more
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Anna Stothard was born in London, but has lived in Washington DC, Beijing and Los Angeles. Her second novel, The Pink Hotel, came out in 2011 and was longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize.

She now lives in Chalk Farm, London. Her third novel, The Art of Leaving, is out March 2013. She also writes about travel for The Observer Magazine.

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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
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