The lovely crystalclear was sharing her spoils from bookcon, and the pre-sale copy of Emily St. John Mandel’s newest novel was in her pile. I nabbed it, excited for Mandel after loving Station 11, and also looking forward to a literary shift after my Rowell YA obsession.
In Mandel’s usual style of telling stories from multiple viewpoints in moving times and places, The Glass Hotel spans New York City and rural Canada, the early 2000s to the Great Recession, and through the present day, with our major characters sliding in and out of the decade as they try to reconcile the shattered pieces of their lives. As with Station 11, Mandel’s story is hard to describe without spoilers since everything is so interconnected, and part of the fun of The Glass Hotel was the slow unpacking of how all these disparate characters wove together. I’ll keep it vague, and suffice it to say if you loved Station 11, you will also love The Glass Hotel. Mandel’s writing is just as warm and poignant and deep here as it was in Station 11.
This book spoke to me deeply since I graduated college in 2008 and am part of the generation still feeling the effects of the Recession more than 10 years later. Mandel’s descriptions of the realities of financial ruin hit home authentically and poignantly. The underlying current of this story is what Mandel calls “the country of money,” revealing the interiors of wealthy spaces, both physical and mental, we learn that the country of money is the place where the real luxury is not having to think [worry] about money. But in the end, it begs the question of what is left after that country implodes. Mandel’s is a quiet story, filled with the pain of memories and unintended consequences, but it’s well paced, and I enjoyed spending time in the beauty of her prose.