Our new pick for our Book Club is The Third Hotel, by American novelist Laura Van Den Berg, an audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in
Our new pick for our Book Club is The Third Hotel, by American novelist Laura Van Den Berg, an audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse.
In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage―in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.
Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way.
Filled with subtle but striking meditations on grief, marriage, art, misogyny, and the loneliness of travel, The Third Hotel is a singular, propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.
“This is no Hitchcockian tale of a double life but an insightful portrait of grief’s power to create ‘a dislocation of reality.’ Mischievous details and winningly bizarre characters (. . .) help the book avoid melodrama and memorably capture the ‘thundering mystery’ of marriage and heartbreak.”
– The New Yorker
“Van Den Berg doesn’t do neatness. She does elegance. She writes with off-kilter beauty and absolute relaxation; the less peaceful a sentence should be, the more peaceful it is (. . .) The Third Hotel is a novel that operates in symbols and layers, which means you can read it however you like.”
“The Third Hotel sets a creepy, unsettling mood (. . .) Steeped in magical realism, The Third Hotel is a dreamy and lushly rendered study of bereavement, the loneliness of travel, and the intricacies of a marriage. This is a gorgeous and layered novel that will haunt you for days after you’ve finished.”
– Samantha Irby, Marie Claire
Laura van den Berg is the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and the novel Find Me. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Born and raised in Florida, she lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband and dog.
As always, Book Club members (meaning you just show up) will enjoy a 10% discount on the next book club title and on every item they’ll ask for at the bar during the Book Club meeting.
Let’s meet up and talk Literature.
(Monday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Wild Detectives
314 W 8th St, Oak Cliff, Dallas