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Strange Hotel

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  168 reviews
From the multi-award-winning author of the literary phenomenon A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing.

At the mid-point of her life a woman enters an Avignon hotel room. She's been here once before - but while the room hasn't changed, she is a different person now.

Forever caught between check-in and check-out, she will go on to occupy other hotel rooms, from Prague to Oslo, Auckland
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published February 6th 2020 by Faber Faber (first published February 4th 2020)
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Average rating 3.03  · 
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 ·  850 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
Unfortunately, this novella failed to speak to my heart. An endless ''chapter'' of a woman's musings on sex, alcoholism, sex, men and did I mention sex? It leads nowhere, I failed to discover its deeper meaning and the stream-of-consciousness style requires a masterful use of language that didn't exist here, in my humble opinion.

I found no depth and I was disappointed by the fact that every city in the world of the woman, from Paris to Beijing, to Moscow, etc. is described in such a dismissive
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

There are more cobbles down there than you could ever wish for, she thinks, no wonder defenestration was a thing. She has no doubt, if each could speak, their mouths will yawn fantastic with history. But, in truth, hers is a beggared interest. Missives from antiquity are not why she's here and, if more rigorous motives yet remain unclear, she is at peace with that. She can be, and can choose to be, in any given place. Furthermore, she's a grown woman and no body exists to which s
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, 2020-read
This hypnotizing, short novel is rendered in an enigmatic stream-of-consciousness, full of self-doubt and attempts at rationalizing situations and behaviors, gloomy, regretful and claustrophobic. The protagonist is a middle-aged woman who drifts through hotels in Avignon, France, Prague, Oslo, Auckland, and Austin - we never fully learn what she is doing in these cities except attempting to forget a man she once loved and who is probably the father of her child (god knows where this child is). T ...more
Eric Anderson
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Staying in a hotel room on your own can inspire a special kind of self-reflection. This is a space that’s meant to simulate feelings of relaxed domesticity, but it’s more likely to make you feel anonymous. It’s somewhere you can either radically confront yourself or create yourself anew. The nameless female protagonist of “Strange Hotel” seems caught in the impermanence of this liminal space that is “A place built for people living in a time out of time – out of their own time anyway. And if tha ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2020
I didn't review this immediately after finishing it the week before last because we were planning to discuss it in a group, but the plans for that have changed, so I will try to review it retrospectively now.

This book felt rather slight compared to McBride's two previous novels - the narrative describes a series of nights/mornings spent in anonymous hotel rooms around the world, with the sections introduced by lists of apparently random place names, some accompanied by an x, ending with the one
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by:
Eimear McBride is an author whose works I often have to circle back to because I have to be in the right place or mood to tackle her experimental or dense prose. I had a similar experience with Strange Hotel, where the words on the page are largely an internal dialogue as a woman enters a hotel room alone...except then there are multiple hotel rooms, and she isn't always alone. The reader has to read between the lines a lot and I may have come to the wrong conclusions. It does resonate with the ...more
Gumble's Yard
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
And what does my will think of me now? Probably that it’s tired of this tone. Of relentlessly reshuffling the deck of pseudo-intellectual garble which, if I’m honest, serves the solitary purpose of keeping the world at the far end of a very long sentence.

This is Eimear McBride’s third novel after her Goldsmith and Women’s Prize winning, Galley Beggar published “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing” and “Lesser Bohemians”.

Famously “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing” was finished in 2004 (many years befo
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novella
I almost hated this book. Imagine my surprise after wanting to read it so badly, after loving The Lesser Bohemians, and really appreciating Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. At first, I was pleasantly surprised: Eimear McBride’s usual slant of language – more like scrambled symbols that tap into my subconscious, rather than actual sentences – this book was written in traditional prose. Having had serious COVID brain, I was at first relieved. But then the protagonist started badgering me, talking nons ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Well, this was not really what I expect from a McBride novel. The language was quite different than her previous two novels, which I both enjoyed immensely. There were glimmers of her style throughout this, but overall it was more simply written and accessible. But the story felt not fully realized. Whereas in her other novels, I was completely absorbed by the prose and characters' lives, in this one I really could not have cared less. Sadly, not a story I think will stick with me, which is shoc ...more
Paul Fulcher
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Originally, she’d thought this was just for a while but it had become, in the aftermath of turbulent times, her preferred manner in which to proceed. Thinking her way carefully around every instant. Grammatically and logically constructing it. Even now, she can hear herself doing it. Lining words up against words, then clause against clause until an agreeable distance has been reached from the initial, unmanageable impulse which first set them all in train. She’s doing it now, and now, and now, ...more
Michael Livingston
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
A very deliberate turn away from the electrifying prose of her first two books. It all left me a bit baffled to be honest. This felt like almost an argument against her first novels - it's reflective, verbose, slow-moving and vague. I got none of the visceral thrill that I got from her earlier work and I wound up feeling like I was really missing something key to the whole work. A puzzle I couldn't quite solve. ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will be re-reading this in the very very near future. So much gained, but so much eluded me/was purposefully elided. This book is phenomenal.

“And what does my will think of me now?
Probably that it’s tired of this tone. Of relentlessly reshuffling the deck of pseudo-intellectual garble which, if I’m honest, serves the solitary purpose of keeping the world at the far end of a very long sentence. And that will no longer do. And that will no longer be? This is the day. The hour. The minute.
And so
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I don’t think I can give this a star rating.

It reads more like a writing exercise than a novel. She seems to be in conversation with herself about her own writing rather than sharing a story. Maybe this should have been the basis for a novel rather than the novel itself. It felt like it wasn’t fully developed. It certainly did not live on the page as her writing is able to do. There were a few flashes of that vibrancy but most of the time I found my mind wandering.

I may go back and re-read thi
Jonathan Pool

In McBride books women are for the most part the recipients of bad treatment and theirs is a battle to fight back and regain a sense of worth. Strange Hotel also features a woman, older this time, in her thirties and forties, whose self respect has been severely compromised.
The intrinsic loneliness of hotel rooms provides a suitable backdrop for our narrator’s torpor, but the overall effect is one of extreme monotony and aimlessness. It’s a dull existence and a dull read at times.
The nar
Beautifully written but far too long, diffuse, and unbalanced, with all the emotion weighted at the end. I almost gave up on this at about the 60% mark and, even after finishing it, I'm not entirely certain I wouldn't have been better off just closing it and saving that last hour. ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel I could have benefited from a primer for 'Strange Hotel', so here goes: This is a novel about a middle-aged woman in a perpetual struggle with her own desires and memories. We don't know what she does for a living, but she stays in a lot of hotels around the world. Sometimes she's there alone, other times she has company (these instances are marked by a 'x' on her lists of cities). She's deeply convinced she can intellectualise her way out of any sort of attachment or tricky situation wit ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Considering its formal, pensive language – a clear departure from her fiery earlier prose – Strange Hotel was, for me, unsuitable for casual audiobook listening. It appears to have been a deliberate change of style, reflecting a middle-aged woman’s thought patterns*, which obviously stands in contrast to e.g. the youthful, passionate ungrammatical voice of The Lesser Bohemians. I will wait for the library to order a physical copy of this so I can actually make some sense of it.

* https://www.yout
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020, arc
No. That won't fit. That's what I believed before imagining this situation I'm in. But tonight I am in a strange hotel and, therefore, an ulterior me. Yes, that surely makes sense. Unless, of course, in reality it doesn't. After all, it may be the case that the act of leaving him would not have left me changed. Perhaps, by my choosing to imagine coming to this place, I am merely absenting myself from what I don't know how to hear?

I loved Eimear McBride's two previous novels (A Girl Is a Half
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is so different from The Lesser Bohemians. Although I haven't read A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, her second novel's minute London world was colored by a youthful and naive teenage narrator who was depressingly precocious and a little bit of a simper. Strange Hotel's narrator is older, wiser, and still depressed - my kind of girl. It's an exercise in self-aware self-indulgence. I have no doubt in my mind McBride knows her writing is presumptuous, frustrating, at times tedious, and guilty of ...more
John Braine
Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
That was like a bad joke. Completely impenetrable inner dialogue, with a promise of reward for perseverance (according to other reviews) that never came and yet just short enough to fool you into battling through to the end. Perseverance is a mode that I endeavour to avoid in my reading, so I never thought I'd have reason to give another one star review, because usually if I'm not enjoying a book that much, I'll stop reading, and not review.

It's as if someone read McBride's other two (amazing) b
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is only a short book and I thought at first it could have been shorter, because it spends a long time circling the thing it is approaching, but when it hits it it is very powerful and earns the 4 star rating. This story has at its heart the same as The Lesser Bohemians: that all consuming love. I think the first two thirds of the book which have a kind of numbing effect are necessary after all to make the last third and the memory it contains stand out in brilliant contrast.
Apr 06, 2020 marked it as dnf
If anyone other than Eimear McBride had written this, i don’t think it would have been published.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
'She is far from home or however that place may be best called to mind. Where the stuff is. Not the heart is. No, some heart is there and nowhere near enough wine has passed through her yet to make that any less true.'

Our nameless female narrator is on the move from country to country, city to city.
'Edinburgh x
Norwich x
The city marked with an x indicate a place where she has had a one night stand. The last hotel mentioned is the room she is occupying in the nar
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Oh Eimear McBride, you disappoint me. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is in my top 3 books of all time, and I loved The Lesser Bohemians almost as much. You can imagine my excitement about Strange Hotel coming out. I bought it on the day of its release and dived in. It kicked off well, with her signature stream of consciousness style evident, but it just didn't give me what I was expecting. Her previous novels are of the rip-your-heart-from-your-chest-and-stomp-on-it school, and I was hoping for t ...more
Garry Nixon
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've stayed in a lot of hotels. So, clearly, has Eimear McBride. But the hotel rooms are simply the canvases and frames. What's contained is a whole universe of memory and regret and grief. It was so honest, often I had to stop reading to process my own memories. A marvel, it's like nothing else I've ever read. ...more
Paul "Axl" Hurman
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eimear McBride has done it again. This book is so, so damn good.
Chris Haak
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting, clever and containing beautiful sentences. I occasionally found it hard to focus though and I didn’t always enjoy the reading experience.
Rob Keenan
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Poetry in prose rather than a solid narrative. The strangest of the three Eimear novels (weh weh weh) which I think can be read as a cohesive whole as much as they can be read independently. Thematically about both unravelling and moving forward. I'm reluctant to give it the big five (5) stars but think that it'll hold up well to rereads and I think it's definitely one that I'll revisit because it was very weird. ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
This is Eimear McBride’s third novel and I have now read them all. Given that I really disliked her first (A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, which I found unpleasant although innovative in style), I am not entirely sure why I return to each one. I did, I acknowledge think her second was far, far better and that probably explains why I picked up this one.

In my review of her second novel (The Lesser Bohemians), I commented on the change of style in the writing: It is almost as if McBride is using the
M. Sarki
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
After slogging my way through over fifty percent of this book I decided I was wasting my time. There is just nothing in this book worth reading. A total bore and simply an exercise in futility. What Eimear McBride was thinking by publishing this drivel is beyond me. She is a very talented writer who in no way proves it here. Sadly, I abandoned the book.
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Play Book Tag: Strange Hotel - Eimear McBride - (sadly) 3 stars 1 9 Feb 28, 2020 12:06PM  

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Eimear McBride was born in Liverpool in 1976 to Irish parents. The family moved back to Ireland when she was three. She spent her childhood in Sligo and Mayo. Then, at the age of 17, she moved to London.

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