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The Glass Hotel

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  89,243 ratings  ·  11,062 reviews
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken ...more
Paperback, 301 pages
Published March 24th 2020 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Jim Hiller I adored Station Eleven, and I couldn't put this book down. It really is all about her writing style. It evokes in me a way of seeing the story that n…moreI adored Station Eleven, and I couldn't put this book down. It really is all about her writing style. It evokes in me a way of seeing the story that not many authors do. If you loved her writing in Station Eleven, this book will not disappoint.(less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  89,243 ratings  ·  11,062 reviews

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I was semi-relieved to be done with this book when I finished it, because it was at any given point somewhere between mildly and lethally disappointing to me, but every single person in my life was more relieved.

You may be wondering if The Glass Hotel is anything like Emily St John Mandel’s previous novel Station Eleven? The answer is no. AND yes.

Don’t get me wrong, The Glass Hotel is a very different kind of book. Its setting is realistic, not speculative. In place of Station Eleven’s focus on art (Shakespeare, music, comics) there is filthy lucre – specifically a Ponzi scheme bearing a striking resemblance to Bernie Madoff’s massive fraud. The romanticism of Station Eleven – its starlit gauziness
Nilufer Ozmekik
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m just blinking, giving blank looks, a mesmerized expression on my face…This is spectacular…
When I admire someone’s extraordinary mind and extremely talented creative skills, any word to describe the work he/she created will not be enough to express my feelings. Emily St. John Mandel is the wizard and genius to surprise us how perfectly crafted words and smart story-telling, impeccably developed and layered characterization change our worlds.

This book is real puzzle: all the pieces perfectl
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written but this book is doing way too much. A Ponzi scheme, a brother who is an addict and composer, a sister who is a trophy wife and then a ship’s cook, a hotel on a remote Canadian island, also ghosts, and the ways all these things are connected. I admire the ambition but it doesn’t cohere, for me. Still enjoyed reading.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emily St. John Mandel writes an exquisite other worldly novel, slightly surreal as if peering through a misted looking glass, of alternative realities, paths not taken, ghosts, of a diverse and disparate cast of characters, their lives and connections revealed as the narrative goes back and forth in time. It is a story of greed, immense wealth, a financial empire built on the shifting sands of an international Ponzi scheme, reflecting the real life example of Bernie Madoff, and the financial col ...more
Bethany Everett
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a really hard book to rate for me because I feel as if this simply was just not a book. This was a collection of life struggles and lessons and observations through a million different characters, and you never really get the satisfaction of understanding. There was no real story to this, in the traditional sense. This felt to me like a book of short stories all mashed together into a confusing ball of a book. I enjoyed the start, as it follows one character (Paul) through grief and unde ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best fiction 2020! what will happen?

i am going to put this book in a time capsule, to be opened in fifty years, with the following note:

the world is almost entirely terrible right now, except for this book.

and if there is anyone left alive on the planet fifty years from now to dig it up, they, too, will declare this book a masterpiece.

because yoo-mons don't change, not really, and this book proves once again that emily st. john mandel has a deeper, br
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
this story definitely falls under the whole ‘its not what you say, but how you say it.’

honestly, i couldnt care less about the subject of this novel. a good 1/3 of the book is about the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of a ponzi scheme. that is not something that interests me one bit. but how mandel portrays this topic, how she effectively structures the narrative, and how she intertwines the lives of the characters is really fascinating. i found myself enjoying this because i liked how t
Elyse  Walters
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m too biased about Emily St. John Mandel to be completely objective. I’m a huge fan!!!

Every novel is exquisitely written, compelling, and utterly absorbing.

Emily chooses her words carefully- consciously - vibrantly - never leaving me with the feeling that anything needs to be edited.

I met this extraordinary author in 2010...
after buying and reading her first book through Unbridled independent book company that features new books by new hot-and-up-incoming- authors.

Emily’s first
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2020-reads
4.5 stars
The Glass Hotel is much more than a story about financial corruption. It’s about complex, self-delusional people motivated by greed, and the people caught up and destroyed in their orbit.

Atmospheric and haunting, the first half is a slow build but the beautiful writing carries the story. There are multiple characters, moving back and forth in time over two decades, and patience is required in the beginning. I trusted the author and was rewarded as she wove all the seemingly disparate t
Diane S ☔
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually attracted to books that feature financial elements, but in this case I made an exception. Simply because I love how this author writes and the way she puts together a story. I'm so glad I went with my intuition, which shows sometimes you just need to trust a favored author.

Although this is about a Ponzi scheme, it is so much more. It is the story of Vincent, a female, named after Edna St. Vincent Milay , and she is a fasinating character. A sort of chameleon, trying to find her w
Unpopular opinion here, don’t come at me friends, but this read was kinda disappointing. 😬 I guess because station eleven was so great, I was expecting more? 🤷🏼‍♀️ This story follows two broken siblings trying to stumble their way through life. It’s a pretty tragic story, in my opinion. I was left feeling sad and just kinda depressed- but don’t let that dissuade you from reading and forming your own opinion. ❤️📚
This sounds like... absolutely everything.
We are looking... away

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤
Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greed, business
”Leon hadn’t understood, and he’d given Alkaitis his retirement savings anyway. He didn’t insist on a detailed explanation. One of our signature flaws as a species: we will risk almost anything to avoid looking stupid. The strategy had seemed to adhere to a certain logic, even if the precise mechanics--puts, calls, options, holds, conversions--swam just outside of his grasp. ‘Look,’ Alkaitis had said, at his warmest and most accommodating, ‘I could break it all down for you, but I think you unde ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
“There are so many ways to haunt a person, or a life.”
There is something undeniably magical about this story. It is strange, a bit surreal and dreamlike and sometimes even slightly disorienting. And it takes a while for you to resurface from its emotional weight that somehow creeps up upon you when you really don’t expect it.
“It is possible to leave so much out of any given story.”
It is a story about people and the connections that form between them, the strange ways their lives touch,
Review written July 2019: It must be incredibly difficult for a writer to follow a monster hit like Station Eleven. Everyone, it seems, is dying to read The Glass Hotel, and that includes me: I normally think it's a little obnoxious to review an advance copy 6+ months before the book's publication, but I simply could not wait to dive into this one. So I will get this out of the way first: The Glass Hotel is not post-apocalyptic, it's not dystopian, it's straight literary fiction (which is not to ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“You should eat broken glass.”

The sentence above, a remote island hotel, a Ponzi scheme, a container ship, a lost young woman, and a ghostly presence provide the framework for this masterful novel about greed, guilt, ambition, and love. The writing is languid and dreamy yet still page-turning as the stories of the interconnected characters fold back upon themselves. This is a mesmerizing, unearthly novel with characters throwing stones and crossing lines. Don’t miss it.
In Emily St John Mandel's previous much loved novel ‘Station Eleven’ she wrote about a post-apocalyptic world which had an almost dream-like feel. This novel is centred around a modern day financial calamity but has that same ethereal, other worldly quality. Hotel Caiette, the glass hotel, itself feels disconnected from time and place "an improbable palace lit up against the darkness of the forest" with it's wall of glass looking over the wilderness. Built on a small island off the north coast o ...more
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
****4.5 Stars****My first novel by this author and it is a dazzling and haunting story. I was fascinated by its allusions to the financial crisis of 2008, the aftermath, and the Ponzi fraudster extraordinaire, Bernie Madoff.

The author’s “glass” hotel suggests that our lives are precarious, and our situations are unpredictable. All the characters are connected in some way to Jonathan Alkaitis, the wealthy investor that perpetuated the Ponzi scheme, and many of them are visited by ghosts.

The nove
Andrew Smith
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020, arc
Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC!

This started at four stars for me. Towards the middle, it was sitting at a three. And by the end - I hate to say it, because I was so excited to read this - but I'm sticking with two. Two stars means for me: although it might have had a few redeeming elements and might be better for you, I wouldn't recommend it.

Really, this just seemed like a mess made up of very interesting things that were just out of focus. A secluded luxury hotel, a collapsing
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
tw: mentions of suicide; drug abuse/overdose; death of a parent; death of a sibling

This is a book that’s difficult to the review. I was worried about not enjoying this book, as the synopsis doesn’t at all interest me but I loved Station Eleven, another book by this author. I ended up reading this book in two days. This is a character study and Mandel makes you care about their stories. Similar to Station Eleven, it’s a hard book to describe and recommend but definitely give it a chance if you ar
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
An interconnected tale of people drifting between the late capitalistic lands of money and shadows
”Small world”
“The smallness of the world never ceases to amaze me.”

Money and (a)morality
It wasn’t that she was about to lose everything, it was that she’d already lost everything and just didn’t know it yet.
Emily St. John Mandel weaves an interconnected tale around Vincent (a girl) and Paul, half siblings growing up on a remote island in the vicinity of Vancouver.
Both experience trauma, Vincent due
Ron Charles
Bad timing: Emily St. John Mandel is releasing a novel in the middle of a pandemic that has shuttered libraries and bookstores across the country.

At least Mandel knows what she’s getting into. Her previous novel, “Station Eleven,” described the world decimated by a deadly virus. Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and a finalist for a National Book Award, “Station Eleven” was terrifically successful when it appeared in 2014, and this month it’s showing up on everybody’s grim coronavirus reading
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trying to capture the essence of this book in a review is maddening. Greatness, is difficult to describe, but I recognize it when I see it. The story of a brother, Paul and his little sister, Vincent (named after the poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay) connecting and disconnecting throughout their lives is what is told here.

Every time I would read a section, I would be enthralled and mesmerized. Time dropped away and only the life in the book was real. I loved her book, Station Eleven too. The two b
Rating 4.5

I'm a dope. When Station Eleven came out, I said 'yeah, I'm not into dystopian' and resisted reading it. I finally gave in and really enjoyed it. I said I would read more by this author. Then, I won a copy of The Glass Hotel from BookMark. The book sat for months as I said 'yeah, I'm not into finance and ponzi schemes'. My library got the audio and I would get it, return it, and get it again. I don't know what made me start it this time.....but I'm a dope for waiting so long to read it
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, I found the storyline all over the place and I felt a bit baffled because I couldn’t see where it was heading. It jumped from timeline to timeline and character to character in a seemingly random and disconnected fashion and I couldn’t join the dots! Then it all began to slot into place and I saw the reasoning and then I was able to settle into enjoying the book.

The 5 star luxury Glass Hotel was in Caiette, a small and remote part of Vancouver Island. It was owned by super wealthy Jon
Jasmine Guillory
Got in the bathtub at 10pm and opened to the first page of this book; was completely unable to make myself get out of the bathtub until 1:30 am when I turned the last page. Absolutely incredible; I read it a few days ago and have been thinking about it ever since; am furious it’s not out yet because I want to talk about it with everyone. I adored Station Eleven and was worried I wouldn’t love this one as much and if you’re also worried about that do not worry! It’s very very different than Stati ...more
★★★✰✰ 3 stars

“But they were citizens of a shadow country that in his previous life he’d only dimly perceived, a country located at the edge of an abyss. ”

Emily St. John Mandel’s prose in The Glass Hotel is certainly striking. She deftly weaves realism with a dreamlike atmosphere, while also adding an elegiac touch to otherwise mundane scenes and observations. Occasionally her style seems intentionally opaque, such as when she keeps her characters’ motivations slightly out of our reach. Neverthe
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, library
Another reviewer used the word “meandering” to describe this novel and it totally fits. Don’t go into this expecting a straight story line. The book jumps from locale to locale, one time period to another with a whole assortment of characters. There is the actual story, and then there are the parallel universes of different choices. I kept waiting for things to come together. And they do, but the beginning of this book requires patience.
That’s not to say the story isn’t beautifully written with
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Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

She is the author of five novels, including The Glass Hotel (spring 2020) and Station Eleven (2014.) Station Eleven was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Aw

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