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Grand Hotel

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,123 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Amereon Limited (first published 1929)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,123 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ilse by: TBV (on semi-hiatus)
Cruel Berlin. Cruel loneliness.

Weimar Germany, March 1929, shortly before the economic crisis. Flipping in through the revolving doors, Austrian author Vicki Baum (1888 1960) draws the reader into the lobby of the ‘Grand Hotel’ – the archetype of which is so sumptuously conveyed in Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Hotel Budapest’ – elegantly dressed guests, busy staff swirling around in an opulent décor of marble, stucco, mirrors, life music and entertainment. Against the backdrop of the vibrant city
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adultlit
I pulled this old rebound book off the library's shelves just to see whether a novel this old would be interesting, and surprisingly it was. Interwoven stories of hotel denizens is a now-classic plot, but this 1920s German novel must have been one of the first. Good points: it was an authentic glimpse of Berlin at a time when the Gedaechtniskirche still gleamed white in the electric lights. The story remains fresh because Baum shows rather than tells what is happening: the sights, the smells, th ...more
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although she described herself as "a first-rate second-rate author," Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel is actually quite a bit better than that. Baum managed to parlay the novel into a 1932 blockbuster starring Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and a host of supporting stars.

Baum tried to reprise her success with Grand Hotel by writing a number of other novels, but none of them quite hit the mark. Still, the one novel for which she is known has some nice characterizati
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book for quite some time but recently I stumbled upon it on my grandmas bookshelf. It's a copy from 1952 and therefore smells exactely like that. I borrowed it and truly enjoyed the read and the "time travel" to a Berlin Hotel during the jazz-age, despite the mouldy odour ;)

Vicky Baum has a nice writing style, I really appreciated the plenty neologisms which made me laugh from time to time. At some points it became almost philosophical and definitly critical in regards to
TBV (on semi-hiatus)
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“The revolving door turns and turns and turns.”

Through the revolving doors of the Grand Hotel in Berlin many people come and go. According to Georgi behind the reception desk: “Marvelous the life you see in a big hotel like this, he was thinking. Marvelous. Always something going on.”

At present* some of the guests include:
- Doctor Otternschlag the severely scarred war veteran who never fails to ask whether there are any letters for him, and who never receives any.
- The ballet dancer Madame G
Menschen im Hotel,
published 1929
Vicki Baum (1888-1960)

“Grand Hotel," would be the name by which this work would have reached worldwide fame.
This is the name of the movie created after her novel.

If movies are the crown of entertainment, so this book is most of all a book of entertainment.
The witty, intricate construction of the following events have become a model of the kind.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Grand Hotel in Berlin was the most luxurious and expensive hotel in the
Already a more than adequate synopsis on offer so no point in rehashing. Thoroughly enjoyed this little known novel from the wonderful New York Review Books Classics list.

A handful of characters here but they are so well portrayed and the atmosphere and mood of the novel does take the reader into the Grand Hotel in Berlin in the 1920's. The Grand Hotel that is no longer quite as grand as the name implies. There were a few surprises along the way regarding the characters and their motives, all is
June 2016 NYRB Book Club Selection.

Baum's book is a slow start. It took me awhile to get into it. But then when you get to the ballerina and the thief, it is so beautiful. What is amazing, in some aspects, is how little things have changed.
J.M. Hushour
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a great, perfectly-formed novel. I'm a sucker for anything set in 1920s Germany in that weird, humming perfect space between World War I and those fucking Nazi guys. I'm also a sucker for stories that deftly eschew plot to take care of the characters and this is hard to do. Baum succeeds to an astonishing degree by focusing on a little gang of repulsive characters all of whom you will love to varying degrees by the troubling denouement.
There's the half-faced doctor who is permanently check
James Murphy
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the kind of book I would have walked through a bookstore and selected. I knew of it but associated it with the 1932 Hollywood film and with the style of movies of the period one might say is stilted and long out of date. But the book came to me through my New York Review of Books subscription. I let it age on my shelf over a year before I dived into it. What I found is an engaging work of modernism written in naturalistic prose which vividly sketches characters as physical figures inh ...more
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grand Hotel is set in the post World-War One world of the Weimar era. Berlin of the 1920’s, and here we meet a host of remarkably well drawn characters, who are explored in astute and searching detail.
Through the revolving doors of the Grand Hotel come all kinds; the war damaged, the dying, beautiful ageing ballerina, businessman, thief. The hotel exists to provide the very best of everything for their guests, and yet there is a feeling that like some of its guests, the hotel’s best days are in
Ira Therebel
I really didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. And in the first 15 pages I wasn't even sure I will like it as much as I expected. But then it just took me in and I couldn't let go. I had things to do today but I couldn't close it until I was done.

It takes place in a high class hotel in Berlin in the late 20's. There are 5 characters that we follow for about 3 days. And there is so much going on. There is love, betrayal, loneliness and most important, life. It takes us to see what life
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
Actual rating: 3.50
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a review copy of this title from NYRB classics.

The Grand Hotel is the place to stay for anyone who wishes to be surrounded by luxury and high society in 1920’s Berlin. The guests that have all checked into the hotel in March of 1929 are an interesting mix of misfits whose stories all collide in a cleverly intertwined plot.

The first character to whom we are introduced is Dr. Otternschlag. He sits for hours each day reading the paper and watching people go in and out of the revolving do
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last semester, when I worked with a World War II history class, I quickly learned how little the students knew about the interwar period in Germany. As far as they knew, it was World War I, Treaty of Versailles, Hitler, World War II. A few knew about the Weimar period, but no one had a really good idea of ordinary life at the time. Even though the professor frowned on fiction, I wish I could have snuck the students a few novels to help them understand. Grand Hotel, by Vicki Baum (translated by B ...more

Because I need to know: is one of cinema's most immortal quotes actually in the novel?
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favorite read this year so far. A charming slice of life narrative set in a hotel in interwar Germany which bring a multitude of colorful characters together for a brief moment in an intertwined web that changes them in various ways. Very thankful for the NYRB classics list for this gem.
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"For, long or short, Life is what you put into it. Two full days may be longer than forty empty years." ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Character Study

This book started off very slowly for me. I read maybe the first thirty pages and wasn’t too inspired to continue, except that I was reading it to complete a reading challenge. There was a lot of set up and a lot of description of the various characters in the hotel. However, once things start happening, they happen with a bang. I hadn’t at all anticipated that ending. It’s surprising to look back and realize the action takes place in just two days, framed by the beginning of labo
Jim Dooley
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I need to make a confession about GRAND HOTEL. I’m a huge fan of both the 1932 movie and the musical version. So, I recognize that my rating includes some “Guilty Pleasure” elements. Reading the book was like spending time with a cherished friend.

The writer spent years collecting details about her characters, and then brought them all together in a pre-World War II Berlin. Some of the twists are admittedly a bit melodramatic. Still, the microcosm of people from so many walks of life gathe
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the glittering world that was Berlin in the 1920’s, this book was the basis for the 1939 blockbuster film starring Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, and Joan Crawford.

I’ve yet to see the movie and I’m curious to find out whether its stellar cast comes close to capturing what made each of the characters in this novel come to life – the aging and lonely Russian ballerina diva,Grusinskaya, who is lamenting her lost youth; the charming and elegant young Baron von Gaigern, whose consci
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Pleasant novel about the Grand Hotel in Berlin Germany where nothing ever happens. Like the movie, it’s about many characters staying at the hotel one night when shockingly a murder happens. Takes place in the 1920s during the Weimar Republic.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I need to bump this up a star, since I'm still thinking about it a day later. ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JacquiWine by: Guy
First published in German in 1929, Grand Hotel is Austrian writer Vicki Baum’s best-known work. Following its initial success, this charming novel was quickly adapted for the stage, and subsequently for the cinema screen, with significant input from Baum herself – the film adaptation (which I have yet to see) features Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and the Barrymore brothers, amongst others.

The setting for the novel is the Grand Hotel in Berlin, an establishment which endeavours to furnish its resid
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Babylon Berlin fans
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I was quite surprised by Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel. I was expecting, with its high-end Berlin hotel and multiple characters, some sort of Jazz Age version of an Arthur Hailey novel. Not so. Grand Hotel, IMHO, should be regarded as one of the modernist classics. Yes, it's accessible, but it's definitely literary fiction. Published in 1929, made into play in 1930, and finally a star-studded film in 1932, it told a story of what would turn out to be a Germany on the brink. If you're into Cabaret, Be ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-women-19
"Does life even exist as you imagine it? The real thing is always going on somewhere else. When you're young you think it will come later. Later on you think it was earlier. When you are here, you think it is there--in India, in America, on Popocatepetl or somewhere. But when you get there, you find that life has doubled back and is quietly waiting here, here in the very place you ran away from. It is the same with life as it is with the butterfly collector and the swallowtail. As you see it fly ...more
At Berlin's Grand Hotel, the faces change, but nothing else really does, according to one jaded guest. People come, have their little intrigues, leave again and are replaced by others with the same intrigues. And the revolving door keeps spinning, and spinning and spinning.

If you're at all familiar with the 1932 all-star film of the same name, or even the musical from 25+ years ago, you know the story pretty well. Here at the Grand Hotel, we have a faded ballerina, a would-be jewel thief, a busi
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An early 20th Century portrayal of the intimate interpersonal tangle of patrons — wounded & deeply vulnerable — who enter the “revolving doors “ of Berlin’s Grand Hotel.

“... an odd thing about the guests in a big hotel. Not a single one goes out through the revolving door the same as when he came in.”

Doktor Otternschlag, a veteran who left half his face at the front; Kringelein , the dying ‘mouse’ of a bookkeeper who seeks life’s last “hurrah”; Grusinskaya, an aging Russian ballerina who feels
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book takes place over about three days in the "Grand Hotel" in Berlin. You have Otto, who has been a faithful bookkeeper all his life. He is told that he has a terminal illness so he leaves everything behind and comes to the big city to start "living".

There is the Count who is always down on his luck and has come to the Hotel to steal a legendary pearl necklace from a world famous dancer who is in town for a few days. They accidentally meet and really and truly fall in love.

There's Preysing
Daniel Polansky
The lives of a handful of characters in Weimar Berlin’s finest hotel, this just did not do anything for me at all. The prose is…fine, I mean nothing one way or the other, but the characters are real stock—an aging ballerina, a gentleman thief, a nebbishy clerk with a fatal illness who decides to blow all his remaining money on learning to live before he dies – I couldn’t detect an actual human being anywhere in the bunch. Hokey, man, real hokey, Library but I’d drop.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add year published 1 4 Apr 08, 2021 03:23AM  
Play Book Tag: Buddy Read for Grand Hotel 9 23 Jun 14, 2020 01:08PM  
NYRB Classics: Grand Hotel, by Vicki Baum 24 67 Aug 02, 2016 09:03AM  
How does the movie compare? 1 6 Aug 23, 2012 06:28AM  

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Vicki Baum (penname of Hedwig Baum) was born in a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. She moved to the United States in 1932 and when her books were banned in the Third Reich in 1938, she started publishing in English. She became an American citizen in 1938 and died in Los Angeles, in 1960.

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