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!Read Kindle õ The Glass Hotel ó From The Award Winning Author Of Station Eleven,a Captivating Novel Of Money, Beauty, White Collar Crime, Ghosts, And Moral Compromise In Which A Woman Disappears From A Container Ship Off The Coast Of Mauritania And A Massive Ponzi Scheme Implodes In New York, Dragging Countless Fortunes With ItVincent Is A Bartender At The Hotel Caiette, A Five Star Glass And Cedar Palace On An Island In British Columbia Jonathan Alkaitis Works In Finance And Owns The Hotel When He Passes Vincent His Card With A Tip, It S The Beginning Of Their Life Together That Same Day, Vincent S Half Brother, Paul, Scrawls A Note On The Windowed Wall Of The Hotel Why Don T You Swallow Broken Glass Leon Prevant, A Shipping Executive For A Company Called Neptune Avramidis, Sees The Note From The Hotel Bar And Is Shaken To His Core Thirteen Years Later Vincent Mysteriously Disappears From The Deck Of A Neptune Avramidis Ship Weaving Together The Lives Of These Characters, The Glass Hotel Moves Between The Ship, The Skyscrapers Of Manhattan, And The Wilderness Of Northern Vancouver Island, Painting A Breathtaking Picture Of Greed And Guilt, Fantasy And Delusion, Art And The Ghosts Of Our Pasts There are so many ways to haunt a person, or a life Emily St John Mandel seems to have two particular talents probably a lot , but these two stand out to me She has a remarkable way to tell a story by jumping around in time and yet having it all make sense She seems to be able to put the pieces together so that the reveals from the past or future come at exactly the right point to avoid the reader being either frustrated or confused It is a great skill, I think, to be able to write passages that the reader has known about for a while and yet are still exciting to read because the reader has been looking forward to getting the detail Secondly, she doesn t need many words to bring a character to life and she seems to get under the skin of her characters very quickly Crucially, she takes her reader with her.I have read all four previous novels by this author, but I think this is probably my favourite of the five There is something about the writing in this book that makes it subtle, mature, insightful.Plus, in this novel, there is the added excitement of discovering two characters from the author s best known work Station Eleven making a re appearance It suggests that like David Mitchell , Mandel is setting books in a self contained universe Except Except for the fact that here one character imagines a world where Georgian flu was not contained but ran rampant round the world destroying civilisation That, of course, is the pandemic that drive the plot in Station Eleven So, we have the plot of one book being imagined as a possible alternate reality in this book and with characters bleeding over between the books.But this idea of characters appearing in worlds where they might not be supposed to be is actually a key idea throughout this new novel We begin at the end as Vincent unusual name for a girl falls off a ship to her death Then we skip back a couple of decades to meet Paul, an aspiring musician with a drug problem After some bad tablets, he has an even serious, if different, drug problem Then the core of the novel is the story of the collapse of a Ponzi scheme in 2008 we know the man at the centre of this as Jonathan Alkaitis, but the crime is modelled on Bernard L Madoff s Ponzi scheme which collapsed at exactly this time.We follow Vincent, Paul and Jonathan, along with a host of other characters, as their lives connect and influence each others, or as their actions impact on others I don t want to give the plot away a huge part of the fun in reading this book is seeing how all the pieces gradually pull together and I would not want to spoil that But one thing many of the characters do often is imagine alternate realities , the way life might have been as with the Georgian flu epidemic mentioned above and, at times, see people who should not be where they are seen Are these characters ghosts, are they just products of guilty consciences, are they visitors from an alternate reality The novel never strays into science fiction or fantasy, but it also never seeks to particularly resolve that question this, it seems, is an exercise for the reader One way or another, our protagonists are haunted by lives they might have lived or by lives they lost somewhere along the way.At the end of the novel, most of the pieces are in place I find myself pleased rather than frustrated at any loose ends I want to spend time with these characters thinking about what happened to them As with this author s other books, the pieces don t come at you in the order you expect But, also as in this author s other books, the pieces are clearly organised to come in a very clever and specific order and to be the right size and shape to fill exactly the hole you as a reader were waiting to be filled at that point I have finished every one of Emily St John Mandel s book full of admiration for the way she tells a story It s a wonderful approach to storytelling and here her writing seems to have moved up a gear, too, making this a thoroughly enjoyable book to read.My thanks to Pan Macmillan, via NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for this honest review. 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 collapse in 2008 Mandel tracks her victims and perpetrators with their interwoven lives, the characterisation sharp yet subtle, nuanced, with the capacity to see the humanity of both in a profoundly moving way She intricately pieces together different lives, structured to intrigue, with answers that comes together holistically at the end.Vincent is a bartender at the 5 star Hotel Caiette, located in the far north of Vancouver Island, where a message has been written on the glass wall of the lobby, Why don t you swallow broken glass This has Leon Prevant, a shipping executive, needing a drink, but the message is missed by the intended target, the owner of the hotel and investment manager, Jonathan Alkaitis The meeting that night of Vincent and Jonathan, leads to her becoming a trophy wife , whose life becomes opened to a world of untold wealth and riches However, with the swift collapse of the financial empire, lives are ruined and devastated, individuals and retirement pensions wiped out Her brother Paul, a drug addict with a love of music, studies finance, becoming a drop out The story begins and ends with Vincent s disappearance from the Neptune Cumberland, between which are skilfully woven in glimpses of the lives lived, greed, ghosts, corruption, regrets, reflections on paths not taken, grief, loss, memory, conscience and an overwhelming sense of guilt.Mandel is a powerful, beautiful and offbeat writer, so atmospheric, evocative, dreamy, lingering in her wide range of often surprising locations, her scope in location and character is extraordinary This novel felt artistic, ambitious, and highly imaginative, although possibly it may not appeal to some readers as it demands patience before its direction and purpose become clear This is a stunning and spellbinding read, unforgettable, gripping as it penetrates the themes of financial crisis, its repercussions and the process of survival Cannot recommend this highly enough Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
You may be wondering ifThe Glass Hotelis 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 and heady atmosphere, beauty seen in a wildflower by the side of a highway clogged with rusted automobile carcasses is dialled down here Mandel s writing is as evocative as ever, but her emphasis has shifted In this novel full of morally questionable individuals, there aren t as many pinpricks of light And yet common threads do emerge Both books have a diffuse cast of characters both narratives skip forwards and backwards, orbiting a central catastrophic worldwide event that forever bisects life into a before and an after Station Eleven s was a flu pandemic, The Glass Hotel s is the 2008 financial crisis, which triggers the Ponzi scheme s collapse In both, the fallout from the singular event claims lives, and those that do survive are set to wandering.There are direct links too Characters from the earlier book reappear here, and the idea of parallel universes first raised in Station Eleven when characters imaginea universe in which civilization hadn t been so brutally interruptedalso recurs Mandel ties this to her theme of regret the characters rueful if only thinking manifests as reverberations between alternate realities, the ghost versions of lives that might have been, had they made different choices It s as if Station Eleven which had the feeling of a dream all along is Oz and The Glass Hotel is Kansas From parallel worlds arise parallel tales, different tonally but at heart, similar compositions Mandel s sensitive characterisations, meticulous layers, and musings on loss, regret and the frangibility of life are all here It s just a little less magical 4 stars. 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 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 way through life after the death of her mother Jonathan is the initiator of the Ponzi scheme, something that will effect many lives, including Vincents.The writing is equisite, the story clips along at a steady pace and i found it quite addicting It is at heart the story of the haves and have nots, unreal monetary expectations Con men and those who allow themselves to be conned The choices one makes, where one mistake can equivocally change ones fate The connections one makes and those that just seem to happen Alternate realities, where one sees different choices played out Do you think it possible for one to actually see their consciences become real Something to ponder.I thought this was a terrific and very different story.