The Glass Hotel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

It’s 1999, and the crowd is dancing like it’s the end of the world. And while Y2K is on everyone’s minds, this is no repeat of Station Eleven, but it has that same sense of mystery, between the morphing characters (Vincent Smith alone goes from pauper to princess and back again) and the jumps across time and place, from a remote hotel off the coast of British Columbia to the posh restaurants of New York and on to a ship in the Pacific Ocean. Yes, there is a disaster at the center of the story, a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, but that’s just one of the betrayals and thefts that populate the tale. It’s hard not to get lost in The Glass Hotel, an ethereal and moody novel that I’m still thinking about long after I turned the last page.

— Daniel Goldin

We know early on that the story is about a financial crime, a massive Ponzi scheme, but the book’s greatness is that the big money crime becomes a perfect vehicle for building extraordinary characters, settings, and themes. Vincent Smith begins and ends the novel as her life (yes, a girl named Vincent) shifts on a grand scale, at lightning speed, from 13-year-old vandal to... wow! St. John Mandel is so talented at revealing all of her characters that their personal trajectories become riveting. They somehow feel both unique and universal. In the process, we travel to the sharply contrasting and richly drawn landscapes of wealth and struggle, the spectacular hotel in a remote Canadian forest, the concrete indifference of New York City, Dubai, and desolate small towns. Yet in every mind and in every place the questions seem the same. Can we feel anchored anywhere to this world, or are we all adrift? Is anything certain or clearly real? In just 300 pages St. John Mandel has given us a penetrating, memorable look at our shared, and so often maddening, human experience.

— Tim McCarthy

April 2020 Indie Next List

“In this ghostly story of ignoring what’s right in front of you, a group of characters try to grapple with what seems like inevitable choices. Mandel’s book is like the glass in the title: her language glitters while offering clarity and reflection, and her characters are like broken shards, mesmerizing in one light and dangerously ordinary in another. Combining the humanity and structure of Station Eleven with the brutal realism of her earlier works, The Glass Hotel is an exceptional novel.”
— Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA



"The perfect novel ... Freshly mysterious." --The Washington Post

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events--the exposure of a massive criminal enterprise and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby's glass wall: Why don't you swallow broken glass. High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis's billion-dollar business is really nothing more than a game of smoke and mirrors. When his scheme collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan's wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

Look for Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, Sea of Tranquility, coming in April 2022

About the Author

Emily St. John Mandel's four previous novels include Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award and has been translated into thirty-three languages. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525562948
ISBN-10: 052556294X
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English