From Eimear McBride, author of the award-winning A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, comes the beguiling travelogue of a woman in exile: from her past, her ghosts, and herself.
A nameless woman enters a hotel room. She's been here once before. In the years since, the room hasn't changed, but she has. Forever caught between check-in and check-out, she will go on to occupy other hotel rooms. From Avignon to Oslo, Auckland to Austin, each is as anonymous as the last but bound by rules of her choosing. There, amid the detritus of her travels, the matchbooks, cigarettes, keys and room-service wine, she negotiates with her memories, with the men she sometimes meets, with the clichés invented to aggravate middle-aged women, with those she has lost or left behind--and with what it might mean to return home.
Urgent and immersive, filled with black humour and desire, McBride's Strange Hotel is a novel of enduring emotional force.
"Award-winning Irish novelist McBride (The Lesser Bohemians, 2016) writes with soul-stirringly inventive language and an immediate, stream-of-consciousness style that's all her own. While in some ways more straightforward than her previous books, this slim novel casts a distinctive literary spell. Opening the book to a list of cities, readers first stop in Avignon, where an unnamed woman checks into a dingy hotel, with a plan. It involves drinking wine, readers understand, but not succumbing to a flirtation with her courtyard neighbor. The episode ends, and the next stop on the ticker-tape of cities is Prague, where, watching a rainstorm from an unsafe balcony, she hopes her previous night's encounter will exit her room. Incidents follow in Oslo, Auckland, and Austin, each separated by years. Readers catch glimpses of this woman's past and the future she's aging mostly gratefully into. As we begin to grasp why she, and thus we, are in these rooms, McBride interrupts the narrative with subject and tense changes that keep us, thrillingly, on our toes. This begs to be savored, and reread."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"McBride (A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing) delivers a globe-spanning travelogue set entirely in hotel rooms in this beguiling work. Lists of cities section off the narrative; in those flagged by an x, the protagonist, an unnamed itinerant woman, has experienced a tryst. Rather than chronologically plot these encounters, McBride presents them as a runaway train of the woman's solipsistic thought as to their significance, leaving her at odds to draw conclusions. After rebuffing one man's advances, she returns to her room and falls asleep watching loud TV porn. Sex with one man pushes her into suicidal contemplation; sex with another cheers her enough to consider joining him for breakfast the following morning (she doesn't). In the final scene, McBride switches from third- to first-person narration, at which point the narrator reflects on how her past choices have "absented" her from herself. The linguistic prowess found in McBride's other books remains present, with the bravado slightly dialed down for emotional effect. McBride's nebulous formalist structure could be described as a long prose poem masquerading as a novel. As a narrative, though, it is a half-formed thing. (May)"
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|| New York :2020
||First American edition.
1 volume ; 20 cm