The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

1. First lines 2. Published 2020 Pan MacMillan; Penguin Random House; Harper Collins 3. Dollar-flying-concept-business-money-cash-currency-success-finance via needpix 4. Close up photo of clear glass panel [CC0] via Peakpix
Lots of overlapping stories moving back and forth through time.

The story follows the life of a woman called Vincent, who at the beginning of the novel in 2018 is falling from a container ship into the Atlantic Ocean. Back to 1994, and we meet her half-brother Paul, a recovering heroin addict, who works with Vincent briefly at the Hotel Caiette, a remote, luxury hotel in the wilderness of Vancouver Island. There, Vincent meets the hotel’s owner, Jonathan Alkaitis, and they move to New York together to live a life of luxury. In 2008, an multi-billion dollar investment scam is uncovered. Vincent, Jonathan, Paul, and multiple characters are affected severely.

“One of our signature flaws as a species: we will risk almost anything to avoid looking stupid.”

“Sweep me up. It has a certain beauty, don’t you think?”

“In the kingdom of money, as she thought of it, there were enormous swaths of time to fill, and she had intimations of danger in letting herself drift, in allowing a day to pass without a schedule or plan.”

~Quotes from “The Glass Hotel” by Hilary St John Mandel
  • The Guardian: “With its shattered narrative, the joys of The Glass Hotel are participatory: piecing together the connections and intersections of Mandel’s human cartography, a treasure map ripped to pieces. But it is as a spectral sequel to Station Eleven that The Glass Hotel stumbles into poignance, as pre-pandemic fiction. All contemporary novels are now pre-pandemic novels – Covid-19 has scored a line across our culture – but what Mandel captures is the last blissful gasp of complacency, a knowing portrait of the end of unknowing. It’s the world we inhabited mere weeks ago, and it still feels so tantalisingly close; our ache for it still too raw to be described as nostalgia. “Do you find yourself sort of secretly hoping that civilisation collapses … Just so that something will happen?” a friend asks Vincent. Oh, for the freedom of that kind of reckless yearning.”
  • Kirkus: “A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.”
  • Publishers Weekly: “This ingenious, enthralling novel probes the tenuous yet unbreakable bonds between people and the lasting effects of momentary carelessness.”

Other editions

Author: Hilary St John Mandel

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